Before moving this summer, my grandchildren attended an elementary school here that was very inclusive. All “special” kids were mainstreamed. My grandchildren were friends with autistic kids, children with Downs Syndrome, and physically disabled kids. I can’t tell you how many times I met one of their friends and was surprised that the child was special in some way because it was never mentioned. My granddaughter talked for several months about her friend Aidan. I didn’t know him and was trying to place which boy in her class he was. She told me he was blonde, blue-eyed, laughed a lot, likes the color blue, etc. She didn’t mention he had Downs Syndrome. To her, that wasn’t important and not worth mentioning. I know my daughter and I (they lived with me for 7 years) tried to raise the kids to be inclusive but the school deserves a huge amount of credit for how special kids were treated and how the other children were taught to respond to them. How tragic that all schools are not like that. How sad that parents don’t make a point of teaching their kids to be inclusive. I hope, Cheney Meaghan, that you can teach those around you to look past what is different about a child and see what all children have kids in common.

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I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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