Sherry reminisces about the changes that have occurred in the world since Charley was born.
There have been some changes over the past several years that have made life better. Mainstreaming, for one. Inclusion is a morale booster for people with Down syndrome because not only has it enlightened so-called typical students regarding diversity, it has been a catalyst for acceptance. That said, let’s not be naïve here; bullying does exist even though it’s become a buzzword, and considered taboo…
But in other ways, mainstreaming comes with a price. For those like Charley who want so much to be like everyone else, it’s baffling. Some of these individuals go to school with their peers, yet find themselves compartmentalized in contained classrooms where the school work is individually catered to his or her own level. Charley knows he’s different; that he doesn’t quite fit in all spaces.
That’s where the invitation to the cool crowd stops. That’s where the dates to the Friday night football games cease to materialize because the dates with the cheerleaders are reserved for the jocks. Those are the guys with the driver’s licenses. The ones whose parents don’t pick up their dates. Or watch from a distance. That’s where standing on the doorstep of “normal” and “special needs” blurs. He may not be able to pinpoint the difference, but he knows it’s there. pp. 529 – 530
How do you feel about mainstreaming, or inclusion, in schools? Was your child ever “fully included?” Do you think the exposure is always good, or are there pitfalls to inclusion?