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How Full Circle Inclusion Can Change Lives

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By Diane Compton

All people deserve the right and ability to make dreams come true. In fact, the fulfillment of dreams and goals are at the very of root of advocacy work.

However, the term “inclusion” has become very limited in scope, with many defining it as a school placement that they are either for or against.

Almost 14 years ago, I met Daniel Smrokowski when he was in High School and I had a grant to teach technology to at-risk students. Daniel told me he wanted to be a writer. And I believed him.

During this time, I became pregnant with our youngest daughter. An ultrasound determined that she would be born with multiple disabilities. Several doctors strongly encouraged us to abort, boldly saying, “There’s no excuse for a child like this to be born in this day and age.”

But I knew Daniel. And while they did not share the same disability, he and my child shared the same dreams of beautiful lives.

Soon after we met, Daniel went to Roosevelt University, graduated with a Journalism degree and started a media company that gives voice and respect to people with disabilities.

Daniel and I, along my my daughter, reconnected 10 years later at the Opening Ceremonies of the Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games. It was there that our journey came full circle, with my student becoming my daughter’s mentor.

Inclusion is so much more than where a student sits in school. Inclusion is about people making their dreams come true and reaching back to help others do the same. The best part is that our experience is not isolated. So many other people with disabilities are creating successful inclusive lives. The following video defines Full Circle Inclusion and celebrates the success of so many.

This story originally appeared on Special Chronicles.

Originally published: December 9, 2018
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