Wil’s paraprofessional, Kristi, told me how Wil — of his own will — went to the closet in gym class, pulled out two baskets and two balls. He proceeded to toss the balls in the baskets. His peers joined in his created game by cheering him on.
Today I picked up Elizabeth, Wil and their friend Kimmy from school today. Elizabeth had an NHS meeting, so Wil, Kimmy and I sat in the car waiting for her with the windows down. As kids poured out of the school, Wil yelled out his hellos, and peers called out and waved to Wil. One friend, Trent, walked up to our car and chatted w Wil. Trent has about every sport there is on his letter jacket. After their chat he fist bumped Wil and walked away.
Wil takes this all in stride, having no idea how this type of interaction is not commonplace. To him, it’s just another day at school with friends.
Kimmy, whose aunt and sister have special needs, said how embracing of Wil the students are at school. I responded that it fills my heart; its what inclusion is meant to be. Wil’s experience is as it should be but isn’t how it always is.
Kimmy agreed, saying she sometimes forgets how people don’t grow up under the same circumstances as she does, and don’t always understand certain reactions and behaviors of individuals with special needs.
I’m so thankful for this Community School experience. It’s enriched my life as much as Wil’s. It’s what inclusion is meant to be — a benefit for all. It’s about friends being friends; of all abilities.