Today Tressa and Kaitlyn educate a small population of future educators and medical professionals. As students from our local community college prepare to enter FGCU in Ft Myers they celebrate their completion of 2 years of education preparing (AA) Today Kaitlyn and Tressa join the class as part of a meet and greet; their future students/patients. Each of the students are seeking futures working with persons with disabilities. They have gotten basic text book learning about these individuals, heading to learn about teaching and medical through TEXT BOOKS; today they will have faces and personalities which will balance the playing field going in...make it personal...make it NORMAL. Many students had NO IDEA that enrolling my children with special needs into school was any different than enrolling any neighborhood child. Many had NO IDEA that children age 6 would have had an IQ test. They had no idea children would be tested to figure out what class they would fall into. My explanation as a parents view, why I feel so strong not to place my children in group settings with all people in that setting disabled was very informative to them. They "got it" but also admit their training is not geared to my views of inclusion in their upcoming training from what they are hearing. They are choosing a path...teacher or special education teacher... HOW CAN THIS BE in 2011-2012. How can law say one thing and our higher education for learning still be giving instruction back in the 70's.... You know in the 70's is when "inclusion" "mainstreaming" was coming to the surface to be what is best for all children.. we can work on the typical child with stereotypes, prejudices and also include the child that NEEDS to be included to meet their highest potential. I hope today starts their thinking about their path a little differently.
My personal belief is we were clicking along to make that reality and then the boom of Autism occurred and the school system became overwhelmed and fled a safe path, a path a resistance to all.... BLOCK THEM AT THE DOOR like back in the 50's... Change is hard for Humans, change is hard for all living things.. no one said life is easy. I challenge anyone to walk in the shoes of any one of my children for one week to learn how easy life is compared... I often say "I wish I could spend time in Steve's world" He seems so care free, so pure...reality is, he is in this world ALONE without help, if I were to let Steven be at his own will he would be alone, pouring water or sand endlessly... He would never know there are bigger more exciting attractions in our world, that the magazines he so loved to flip through actually have words and meaning ..a story and information. Learning opens our world. I really would never want to be secluded from the friends, world I have open to me...and I know my children are happy that they also have their world open to them. I do not ask Kaitlyn if she wants to be a greeter at Walmart or a bagger at Publix, many times I hear this from the professionals..You know Kaitlyn will be able to be a greeter at Walmart or a bagger at Publix...YOU KNOW WHAT... Kaitlyn can file, copy, fax, clean like no one I know so she could very well work in an office, she is 16 and I will not project anything less than the sky for my children.. We need all the folks that work with or for our children raise their expectations, see the world OPEN to accepting my children, they need higher goals, higher realities...Everyone has a place and no one should be blocked from reaching their goals..
Please do not send hate mail about greeter and baggers, I am full aware there are happy individuals in those positions, I simply say that is not Kaitlyn's goal and no one should say because she has a disability that is her goal... I am a supporter of both and all companies because there are many who hire people with disabilities when many others do not.. KUDDOS to all those who have opened the world already.
I am excited for this small group of individuals, they all have my business card with an invite to hop on the blog, join my facebook and email or call at any time as they journey through the next years for a parents perspective.