Recently, I had to ask someone if Sydney’s autism bothered them. It was a question that needed to be asked so that the elephant could leave the room. Too difficult to blog about now.
I remember when I was in elementary school being friends with a girl who had a physical disability.
In order to get to the cafeteria you had to walk down about six steps. I always wondered how she made it into the cafeteria because her scooter was always at the top of the stairs, when our class walked by.
One day I was going to lunch earlier to turn in my lunch money and saw my friend. She was getting out of her scooter. I could see that it was difficult for her to walk but she managed to make it down the stairs. I asked her if she needed help. I can remember her saying that not many people have seen her walk before. We walked to the cafeteria and I asked if she needed help with her lunch. She always brought her lunch from home because she didn’t want to drop her lunch tray or have people stare at her when walking. So that day I offered to carry her tray for her. I remember giving her my lunch money to buy “hot lunch”. She found her seat and I brought her lunch tray to her.
We sat by grade levels so I had to return to my class table. I told her I would come back before we went out to recess and help her if she needed it. That day changed my life. I learned empathy at an early age.
We can all learn how to treat others with disabilities and include them. You don’t have to stare, just say hello. I love how Syd has a peer buddy for special olympics. She helps her practice for each event. Sydney has been staying for Best Buddies after school. Harrison participates too. He’s always asking to be Sydney’s partner. But the teachers encourage him to work with other kids and he does. This gives Syd an opportunity to interact with typical kids her age.
For our family a simple smile can mean more than words. Share with your children that disabilities aren’t contagious. Some of my students asked to be lunch buddies with some of the special needs children. I love watching them interact with the kids in the cafe.
Here are a few ways that you can show your support.
- Spread The Word To End The Word -March 2nd.
- Rock Your Socks for Downs Syndrome – March 21st.
- Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness -April 2nd.
Show your love, support and acceptance for all of these wonderful families. Harrison and I will have a special FaceBook presentation to share soon. You won’t want to miss it.
Change begins with you!