Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Great Spirits

On occasion there is need to classify individuals according to their level of learning. One would not place a seven-year-old in a college calculus class (or me for that matter) nor would they slot an adult who has not yet learned to read in a class of first graders. Logic tells us a child would not flourish in a class where he has not yet mastered the basics and an adult would feel isolated and perhaps even demeaned if placed in a classroom of children.

If we consider individuals with physical and intellectual challenges the law states they should be included in every aspect of life. We make our public spaces accessible for those who physically would not be able to enter if there were not alterations to building structures, children are required to be educated in the least restrictive environment with their same age peers, and individuals of every cultural, socioeconomic, and sexual orientation are to be treated with respect and given equal opportunity in both work and social settings. Professional, educational, and community inclusion is not merely a privilege for a select few, but also hinges on laws which have been in place for over two decades.

In my world… a world where my eldest son’s unending questions of “What’s next Mom?” are a part of my daily routine, inclusion is priority. His questions in part are born of his need for answers but of equal importance to help him transition. I have spent the majority of his twenty-one years advocating his right to be a part of ‘our’ world and yet if I were to be completely honest, I have likewise redesigned and relegated myself to his.

If you explore the meaning of the word ‘relegate’ you will find three entries: 1. demote somebody or something 2. exile somebody, and 3. hand something on / or to pass something on to somebody for that person to deal with it or provide information about it.

I am here to provide information…

Acceptance and understanding are imperative on all levels for equality to flourish.

“…There’s no lesser than. There’s just different from. It isn't just great minds that matter. It’s great spirits too.”

Dr. Bruce Blumberg
As quoted by Ian Brown in “The Boy in the Moon”.