This next week is Down Syndrome Awareness Week. Paula Kluth's website, she shares a wonderful success story of inclusion. Here is an excerpt from a letter written by Kacie's mom.
A few years ago I attended a seminar in which you spoke about inclusion. I had an opportunity to speak with you, and what you said convinced me to insist that my daughter, Kacie, be included in classes with her peers. It was a wonderful decision, and I’ve never regretted it.
I wrote to you several months later and told you about her experience with French class. She went on to spend four years in French classes and really enjoyed them.
Kacie was “graduated” with her class last year, went to the prom with a young man who also has Down syndrome, and had a graduation party. At graduation, I waited patiently all the way to the S’s as the students marched across the stage to receive their diplomas. When it was Kacie’s turn, she paused mid-stage and raised both fists over her head in a victory gesture. The applause was thundering. We were near the front of the auditorium, and it was only later that another parent approached me and asked me if I knew that Kacie had received a standing ovation. I still tear up thinking about it.
This letter brought tears to my eyes also. This should be the story for every child. How is it that we decide who should fit in and who should not? How is it that we decide who will have the experience of friends and prom and who will not? Who's criteria should be used to decide? During this special week, we should be intensely aware of what true inclusion means for all children not just the ones we choose to "allow".
BTW, I started this post in my iPhone mobile blogger ap. . . how cool is that?