Inclusion. The new cool.
I have to share. This story is the perfect pick-me-up for your week! Okay, you should all know Eddy by now. He's Welles' future best friend (once Eddy decides he's not spooked by kids smaller than him ;)). We parents have arranged their future rooming and "buds-for-life" situation. They have no choice but I think they'll be okay with it.
Anyways, Eddy's mom (Kathryn) has told me stories about this sweet little girl at Eddy's school. Her name is Mckinley. She has done a beautiful job of taking Eddy under her little wing. She helps him, holds his hand and includes him every day at school. As a mommy to a special needs little guy, this tugs real hard on my heart strings. I can only pray that Welles has his very own Mckinley once he starts school. Read what Josh (Eddy's dad) has to say (below) on a special surprise they did for Mckinley to show appreciation for her friendship with Eddy. Mckinley is a wonderful example of inclusion. I hope we can all teach our kids to love and accept all who surround them. So grateful that they invited us to be a part Mckinley's surprise.
No parent is immune to the concern and worry that accompanies their child attending school. It's a trying moment where we place our complete trust and faith in teachers with the hope that we've raised our kids to do well.
In the case of a child with special needs, this concern is amplified given the many abilities that don't come to them as readily as our typical children. Even with the incredible efforts of their teachers, our child's success depends a great deal on their peer group. This is why inclusion is so valuable, and even vital to their well-being. On the other side, we feel that typical children benefit enormously from befriending and stewarding their peers with special needs. This helps them become more grateful and broadens their perspective. It binds families together and strengthens the community.
We are so fortunate to have a specific example of this with our son Eddy. An awesome family opted to bring their adorable daughter, "Mck" (short for Mckinley,) to Eddy's special needs pre-school class. Jamie, Mck's mom, is a speech therapist for the district and enrolled Mck as a "Peer Model" in Eddy's class. This wonderful little girl decided to look after Eddy and become his pal. Going to see Mck, and of course, Ms. Kelley his teacher, fires Eddy up for school every day. Her friendship gives him confidence and encourages trust. Her example also inspires other kids to be involved with their peers who have special needs. Understanding and familiarity brings friendship, and allows better outcomes for all our children.
The Cottle Team, (real estate brokerage, The Cottle Team reached out to us wanting to support the special needs community. They were looking to "give away a house" and wanted our help finding a family. The "house" was a beautiful playhouse and they asked us to find a family who would enjoy it. We saw it as a perfect opportunity to share this story, to urge support for inclusion and for Eddy to thank his favorite little friend.
We want to thank Mck's family first and foremost. They've turned our concern to enjoyment. We want to thank all of Eddy's teachers, Ms. Kelley in particular for doing so very much. Many thanks to The Cottle Team for their generous support and helping celebrate understanding and friendship.