Saturday, August 24, 2013

Birthday Party Inclusion

Sometimes even I, Matt’s mother who is passionate about including Matt in all things, find it easier to exclude him than to do the hard work to make a plan for him to participate. Makes me realise that this inclusion thing constantly requires intentional thought and planning – it really doesn’t JUST HAPPEN.

A good friend and neighbour approached me regarding the upcoming birthday of her daughter. The birthday plan was to go ice skating and she wondered if Matt would manage. I thought about Matt’s balance issues and his fear of feeling unstable and thought it best if we give it a skip. A small part of me felt a little bad that I was depriving Matt of attending a birthday party – he does so enjoy parties, and he doesn’t often get invited to parties (probably because other parents of kids make the same assumption about Matt that I was just making). But I reasoned that it would be too difficult, he wouldn’t enjoy it and so the best decision was to not go.

But my friend didn’t leave it at that. A few days later she came up with a plan. Clearly she had been thoughtful and intentional about inclusion. She added other activities to the party celebrations, including a carousel ride, so that Matt and other kids who might not be confident in ice-skating could enjoy the party. (Matt is totally gonna love the carousel)

This morning her daughter hand-delivered the invitation. My heart swelled as I realised how grateful I was that another mom had kept alight the inclusion light, when I had let it grow dim.

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