We all make assumptions and have been embarrased when those whom we assumed something about excelled. Remember what our parents taught us about assuming?! I know I have suffered the feelings when my assumptions were wrong. This week after school programming opportunities took a huge step forward for all youth in school. At least that is what we want to think. Essentially the government strengthened and broadened the spread of section 504 to include after school activities, government gave some clarity.
They stated what those of us in the business of Universal Design and Inlcusion live by - Stop assuming that someone with a particular diagnosis CAN'T. Making appropriate accomodations are not hard, they take effort and time to find yet can be pretty simple to make. That simple change can make a world of difference to a child who has been unable to participate with peers. I believe parents and schools with the proper focus already are doing what needs to be done to make the their childrens' educational experience as rich as possible.
There are families who believe their children have thrown this article into their school administration's face. There are families who are pleased with the effort their school is making for their children when it comes to social opportunities. In each case I believe they are right, kids are amazing and schools (in a lot of cases) are doing a great job.
I believe this new mandate is good for everyone as it will take a necessary conversation farther than it has gone to date. Schools and classmates and parents will have to become use to saying,
"If you know one student with ___________,
you know one student with __________."
This statement is very empowering for our youth because it takes them into account and makes the adults talk to them to ask what can be done to make sports and after school clubs more accessible. An education for all will be the result of this mandate and that is a good thing for us as a community.
Can you relate to the attitudes in the USA Today?
Thoughts down the road......
What does this mean for sports and leisure programs that are created exclusively for those with disabilities? Maybe something, maybe nothing - the acceptance of this ruling and experience (time) will tell.
Shameless plug: If you or your school wants to brainstorm ways to include more youth in activities we would love to be your resource and engage in the conversation. Mere support in getting started is really all it takes because we believe each parent is their own child's expert and schools have the intellectual and 'heart' properties to make it happen.
There are families who believe their children can do anything and have thrown this article into their school administration’s face.