When "Nothing" Stands in the Way of Inclusion


This week, our son Tom presented a research project on the planet Mars at our local school district's science fair.  As part of the process, Tom was required to bring his project to the high school the night before the show itself, and present his findings to a panel of judges.  Each judge came around to each high-schooler, asked questions, and wrote up a little critique.  While Tom wasn't competing (this year), he did speak to each judge, explaining his model of Mars (which featured an arctic pole, Olympus Mons, and the planet's two moons).  He did a great job.  


Tom at the Falmouth High School Science Fair from P Cook on Vimeo.
Perhaps needless to say, Tom was the only high schooler with special needs to present a project to the panel of judges.  In fact, he may have been the only student with special needs to be a part of the science fair -- which, in the long run, included nearly 100 projects by students in every grade.

In talking with the head of the science department for the high school, who was present both at the evening presentations and during the fair itself, I heard her perspective on why so few special needs students took part.  In essence, the teacher explained, "this type of project requires a lot of parental support and involvement, and that doesn't really happen with these kids."

Of course, she wasn't suggesting that parents don't love or support their children with special needs - but rather than parents don't spend time, energy and money on helping their children with special needs to conceive, plan and implement research projects for the district science fair.  Even when I offered to serve as a resource next year, the response was luke warm: apparently no one really expects kids with special needs (or their parents) to bother.

I asked why the kids who DO participate bother to come.  The reason, she explained, was that kids followed their friends.  "If one kid gets involved, she brings her buddies along," she said.  "You usually get kids in groups."

I thought long and hard about this experience.  Granted, only a few students altogether were presenting their projects to judges.  And granted, science fairs aren't everyone's cup of tea.  But the reality is that, while "nothing" stands in the way of universal inclusion in events like this one (or events like the school musical, the school band concert, and so forth), the obstacles are huge.  

Not because anyone would deny our kids access, or because or kids aren't capable of inclusion, or because of overt pressure.  But because neither we, nor our kids, are included in when the word goes around "it's time to audition," or "the first science fair meeting is this Friday in the gym," or "it's time to sign up for the Pep Squad."  Those of us who are out of loop are... out of the loop.  And the longer we remain on the sidelines, the more it's assumed that we like it there.


What's the answer?  From what I can see, the onus is on us, the special needs moms and dads, to be sure the memo is delivered direct to our door.  It's our job to check the school calendar, ask around at the PTA meeting, and doublecheck  our kids' backpacks. It's up to us to determine which opportunities are right for our kids, and to get our kids any special help they need to be fully included and successful.  


Why take on yet another set of tasks?  I can only say that they outcomes are well worth the effort.  Take a look at the video of Tom presenting his science fair project, and you'll see why!

5 comments:

  1. I just read your blog and get the information which searching everywhere. Now it’s become on my top preference of reading for acquiring the updates without hassle.
    www.okanaganautomation.com |

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information.
    www.homewardboundnews.com |

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is an excellent post I seen thanks to share it. It is really what I wanted to see hope in future you will continue for sharing such a excellent post.
    www.keywayspublishing.co.uk |

    ReplyDelete
  4. i can only hope to have the excel god powers you now possess
    chvalkovice |

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ingenieur was a nifty little creation of the omega replica uk company that rocked the world when it was introduced in the years after the Second World War. It was the company’s first automatic watch in which the inner case was designed of soft-iron. The design was meant to protect the watch from movement against over unity magnetic forces. Today Ingenieurs have become collector’s items out of the reach on most pockets. But a good reproduction can offer you a taste of the history that went into making cartier replica uk this watch. Like the Ingeniuer, the Portuguese range, the Portofino and every other IWC features a remarkable technical design. If you are looking for a wrist watch for a child, you can opt from a wide range of funky and colorful watches with images of anime characters, superheroes, sports celebrities, etc. Although you can find a wrist watch in every price range, it is recommended that you purchase a u-boat replica sale watch manufactured by a most respected watch manufacturer such as Philip Stein Watches, Person Watches, Seiko Watches, Tag Heuer watches, and the likes. It is important to purchase a known manufacturer as cheap watches are usually cheap in terms of quality as well. Deciding the budget is the most important part of shopping for a wrist watch, and may be achieved before you start your look for the wrist watch. When selecting a patek philippe replica uk watch to gift to a dear one, you should always consider the age and taste of the person before making your choice.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for commenting! If you';d like to take part in an ongoing conversation about topics in this blog, please join us at the ;Authentic Inclusion Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthenticInclusion.

Best,

Lisa Jo Rudy