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When a Parent of a Child With a Disability Has the Courage to Stand Up


A parent in our school district stood up this week and spoke out. He  expressed discontent via our group list explaining how poorly our school district has been handling things with his child.

His email was asking for help and support. I voiced my support and cheered this parent on, lending my support and hoping others would follow. He was sent emails with people saying, “Sit down, don’t rock the boat.”

I was sent emails with unkind words and negative comments.

But here’s my take:

Change happens when people are uncomfortable.
Change happens when things are “disrupted.”
So, let’s disrupt some things.
Let’s stand together and be one voice.
Let’s be consistent in asking for change.
Let’s set higher expectations and let our school districts know and understand clearly what those expectations are.

Very seldom do people see another way, until they are held to different standards.

And here’s my dream:

I pray for a day when our kids are looked upon as regular students, and as such, are placed in a typical classroom first and move from there…as needed.

I pray for a day when we don’t have to have these conversations and inclusion for all kids is the norm, and tools and resources are readily available.

I pray for a day when parents are looked upon as the experts in the room, and our voices are heard and considered equal.

I pray for a day that parents don’t have to pay money for advocates and outside experts, out of their own pockets.

I pray for a day when people see my child’s strengths, instead of his weaknesses.

I pray for a day when an extra chromosome is considered something special and exciting, instead of something wrong.

I pray for a day when the schools see my child as a gift in the school and the classroom. And that they understand that through my child — patience, empathy and kindness can be taught.

I pray for the day that we see each other, respect each other and see how perfectly imperfect we each are created.

 

Photo submitted by contributor.