I posted on my blog the other day about my worries raising a child with autism, and a fellow "autism mom" responded to my desire for my child to live a normal life with these words:
"Maybe we ARE the new norm!"
With an average of 1 in 110 children being diagnosed with autism,* and a new study by Academic Pediatrics that an estimated 43% of have a chronic health condition, I cannot help but agree. Locally, a significant percentage of kids in both my daughter's school and my church have autism. To me, it's apparent: the rise in disabilities has created a new normal. If that's true, what do you need to know to parent your kids alongside disabled kids? Here are a few ideas that will help you get a handle on it:
Having disabled children has taught me that we are all just flawed humans trying to make it in this world. As the group of people with special needs grows, we parents need to open our minds and hearts to their existence. If we do that, we can build a culture where everyone fits in, contributes, and is valued. What could be better than that?
*Source: CDC, Autism Data
My problem about inclusion is when it isn't working for the child and no changes are mad. I think you need to do what is best for the child and too many schools are more worried about what's best for them. As for the apologizing mom are you sure she wasn't trying to say something else? That has happened to me before where the staff wasn't listening or misunderstood something I said and commented anyway. Otherwise good article.
nmcdon, Actually I think everyone is "different". We put way too much emphasis on fitting in, and that can kill our dreams and crush our creativity. When my 8yo was little, I brought her to special needs daycare. I ran into another mother who looked at me terrified and said, "There's nothing wrong with my son. He just has a speech problem." I wish I had said, "There's nothing wrong with my daughter either. She has Down syndrome."
Wonderful article. I never thought about not apologizing, but it makes total sense. It took me awhile to not be upset when people asked what was wrong with my son. I don't see anything as 'wrong' with him, just different. In my eyes, he is so perfect, and I forgot that he has super thick glasses and a helmet.
Thanks, Lauralee. We still struggle with how to keep & maintain friends over the summer, or how to help our kids even make friends. My older girl is a social butterfly, though. Good luck to you!
Love this article. My daughters have had kids with speech delays in their classes at preschool. My highly verbal daughter loved to play with one of her friends who left for a specialized school. I know his progress has been quicker there but I hope they meet up again in kindergarten if we can't make playdates happen in the meantime. She misses him. A couple of my nephews have had learning issues but have stayed in mainstream settings with specialized help and are prospering.