May Day. Inclusion.

Inclusion.
One of those things I have always struggled with at school.
Inclusion is the term used to describe the right to access mainstream education where possible.
I struggle with it because I don’t always think it is in the best interest of the child.
Within a day to day situation inclusion doesn’t just mean allowing a child to take part in something.
Inclusion means they can take part and enjoy it just as much as everyone else.
Inclusion is seen as a universal right, but we all know that sometimes that just isn’t possible without planning beforehand.

Inclusion for us today meant my child being able to take part in May Day celebrations.
Inclusion for us today meant reasonable adjustments were made to allow my child to join in.
Inclusion today meant that my child was just like all of her friends.

My emotions were flying high.
This was my childs’ last ever mainstream school event.
The last time she would ever need to be someone she isn’t.
The last time she has to try so hard to fit in.
To look at her today you wouldn’t think any of those things had crossed her mind.
To look at her today you wouldn’t see her disabilities.
To look at her today you would not see all the hardwork it has taken both school, and us, to get her this far.

I cried a little tear.
A tear of happiness tinged with sadness and fear.
My heart was bursting with pride at this young woman we have worked so hard with, enjoying an event in front of a large crowd of people.
But I felt sad and scared for her future.
It is no secret that she doesn’t like school.
…but she does like school, it is the work she dislikes.
In only 7 weeks she will leave this cocoon of familiarity and safety to be plunged into the unknown of her new school.
Far away from her TA and teachers who have worked so hard this year to try and understand her.
Far away from her 4 years of working through her anxieties and finally feeling like part of the team.

I have to praise the school today.
My girl has struggled with this event over the years but has always said she wanted to do the sword dance in year 6.
That was always her aim.
The dance is something the boys normally do.
Having talked to the class teacher about the country dancing and how she will refuse to come in on the day if she had to do it (it involves holding hands with a partner and she cannot tolerate it), they offered to let her have a go at the sword dance.
If eyes could smile, it would have been her biggest yet!
She was so excited and absolutely thrilled to be having a go.
I was overjoyed, although pleasantly suprised!
Imagine the delight when she was told she could do it with the boys on the day….today!!
It truly was amazing.
This is inclusion. Bending the rules/tradition slightly so that everybody can take part.

I loved seeing her dance today.
With her physical difficulties that fluctuate daily we can never guarantee her success.
With the Autism we can never guarantee she will cope with the change, sensory overload and large volumes of people.
We will both remember this day for a long time.
We will always remember the day my girls wish came true.

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