Tuesday, November 23, 2010
After having run around like a crazy person for 5 hours preparing food, setting up, and selling lunch & snacks to high school kids, it was time to visit my daughter's classroom. My younger daughter has multiple disabilities. They had a "Best Buddies" Thanksgiving feast &; invited parents for dessert. For those of you not familiar with the "Best Buddies" program, it is a national program set up to partner developmentally disabled teenagers with non disabled peers. This is my daughter's first year at high school and with this program. The room was crowded and noisy with the chattering of at least 40 kids and adults, all of whom had partaken in the feast. It was a happy place to spend an hour. You cannot fathom the happiness of developmentally disabled kids when they have a chance to form friendships with their peers. These are the types of programs that will eventually change societal opinions and the way that the developmentally disabled are treated. When kids grow up learning to respect and value those with disabilities, they become adults who don't find it odd to include them. Our future policy makers, volunteers, scientists, and teachers may make better decisions that affect all of us if they see from their earliest school days that EVERYONE is valuable and deserves to be included in daily life.