"How do we create a world where there isn't so much fear in talking about disabilities? Start talking about it now."
Kindergarten brings about so many emotions for all parents, but it hits different when you have a child with a disability. Lochlan has Cerebral Palsy and does not walk 100 percent of the time. He also requires therapy and additional support for fine motor skills too. Because of all of this, his day looks different than most other kids.
Sending him to a new school brings about many unknowns. He has an amazing team that want to be adaptive and have been, but that's only one part of school. The other part? Classmates.
Many young students have never known a person who requires a walker or wheelchair. This, understandable, can bring about different feelings and curiosities. Lochlan's teacher asked if I would come in and talk to his peers about his disability. I, of course, jumped at the opportunity.
Earlier this week, I came into the classroom as a volunteer and read my favorite inclusive book for young children called, Meeting Mimi. The book introduces a class to a young girl who, like Lochlan, uses a walker. The end of the book offers questions about Mimi so that allows the young readers to think about how Mimi may feel amongst her peers. I love this book's simplicity and how it talks about her disability so candidly. Disabilities aren't scary and shouldn't feel scary. This book does a great job of taking out the fear in disabilities like Lochlan's.
Lochlan's peers were all very interested in the book and Mimi's story. They drew comparison between her and Lochlan and got to think about obstacles kids like Lochlan and Mimi face day-to-day. My hope is that by reading this book so early in their schoolin, that kids will think about others with more empathy and understanding now and, potentially, throughout their life.
Here is the book I read along with two of my mother favorite inclusive books for young children:
1. Meeting Mimi by Francie Dolan
2. Kindness is My Superpower by Alicia Ortego
3. It's OK to Be Different by Sharon Purtill