At my son’s Occupational Therapy session, I sat in the waiting room. There were kids who had many different diagnoses and issues. One child (a preteen) was a very loud talker. He first walked around the office looking at concrete objects in the room through a spinning app on his iPad. He was naming everything he saw in the room. When he was finished with that task, he asked a woman all about herself : what’s your name? what’s your favorite color? what’s your favorite number? If he did not like her answer, he would tell her what her favorite color or number was.
On some days, there are kids in waiting rooms of therapies that cannot handle noise, will cover their ears and hum noisily. Sometimes there are kids who LOVE noise and will try to make as many things smash as possible. Sometimes there are older kids who talk to themselves in conversation to calm themselves down. Sometimes there are nonverbal kids who communicate more with grunting or leading. Some children have physical disabilities as well. Sometimes kids flap, sometimes kids rock, some kids may be geniuses, some may have an intellectual disability.
My son has been exposed to all different types of children and adults. Subsequently, I have been exposed to all different types of people as well. Prior to having my son, I usually felt uncomfortable or not knowing how to interact: don’t stare, don’t ignore, what should I say? offer help? Thankfully, over time I have had more and more of an opportunity to speak with, laugh with, learn and not be “uncomfortable” around people. I thank Roger for that. And, what is amazing, Roger never notes if a child is having a full meltdown, injuring themselves, flapping, screaming, missing a limb, looks “different”. He just does not seem to notice or care. Or is it the norm for him to be around?
Inclusion for me does not mean my child is included with your “neurotypical” kid. Inclusion should mean that your child has the opportunity to meet all types of children. They need to see all kids as “normal” and not treat those with disabilities differently. If only I had the opportunity when I was younger….