My mind was a constant flow of worry, my heart overflowing with hope, excitement and pride. Tears were intent on filling my eyes but I battled to hold it together. As I walked through each classroom, I imagined my son sitting at one of the small desks. On the outside, I was just like all the other parents, here touring kindergarten classrooms and meeting the teachers but on the inside, I felt like an outsider that snuck into an event that I didn’t yet officially and may never belong at. I took a leap of faith attending because in reality I was looking at classrooms my son may never even be a part of at a school he may not go to. As the emotions inside of me battled it out, I overheard a parent ask, “Can we request that friends are in the same class?” I stopped immediately and looked at the parent who had asked the seemingly innocent question to one of the teachers. It must be hard that your biggest concern is that your child will have their friends in their class. I thought to myself sarcastically. It is in these moments that I find it difficult to relate to parents of typically developing children. They can’t understand how lucky they are to know their son/daughter will be included in a classroom at his/her home school because, of course, they would go to the school in their neighborhood. They can’t know what it is like to do hours and hours of research on education law, to work your hardest to change outdated perceptions or to challenge the placement that usually goes with my son’s diagnosis all to get him into any classroom at that school, with friends or without. They just can’t possibly understand.
About 321 Inclusion
This blog is my place to express my feelings and share my family’s experiences related to inclusion. I hope it will foster a community where like-minded, positive parents on a similar journey can connect with other parents that just “get it.” I believe parents of children with Down syndrome belong to an elite club that only us “lucky few” can understand and appreciate; a stark contrast to the feeling of being an outsider among other parents. We need each other for support and encouragement. I am thankful for the special friendships I have developed as a result of being one of the “lucky few” parents and I hope this blog will foster connections among the readers.
We look forward to sharing our journey of inclusion for our bright, funny, expressive son who happens to have Down syndrome. I am proud to say that he will be entering kindergarten this fall at his home school in a general education classroom! I am by no means an expert on inclusion but I hope to provide a parent’s perspective and share the successes and challenges in a way others can relate to. Having benefited greatly from the power of parent networking, I hope this blog will provide you with ideas or simply a place to come for reassurance and to find other parents are on a similar journey. So here we go, 3…2…1…the official start to our family’s inclusion journey is just around the corner. Kindergarten: here comes Jackson.