Frankie is 3.5 years old now and we’re starting to emerge from the Mommy & Me phase – the one where I accompany her to activities, guide her through participation and redirect her when she loses interest.
You know by now that we advocate and push for inclusion wherever and whenever possible. But as we go I’m learning a lot about what that looks like for her when I step out of the room. I think I’ve thought that just putting her in inclusive settings was the bulk of the battle and resulted in actual inclusion. Turns out that that’s just the beginning.
Most of the time Frankie is great in school, extracurricular activities and various classes. She enjoys being there and loves participating. But sometimes I notice her quietly sitting out, or straying or otherwise doing her own thing. One reason for this is she’s a very visual learner – she needs to see things done, often several times, before she understands HOW to participate and what she’s expected to do. Because she can’t express herself particularly well right now, I can only guess at other reasons, but I suspect that it’s sometimes because when she’s there no one is actually and purposely including her. I totally get it, no one teacher or class leader can devote all of their attention to keeping her engaged. And to be honest that type of support is almost more exclusive than inclusive.
I hate to ask other parents to make special considerations for Frankie – I mean, we’re trying to fit in here! 😉 But one way you can help us in our journey into full and meaningful inclusion is to talk to your children and lead by example in how to engage and draw in friends like Frankie who might be hovering on the fringe. We will of course keep on putting her inclusive settings from our end, but we so appreciate when other parents and children embrace inclusion from their end too ❤