Last night, our darling daughter took part in her kindergarten graduation with her classmates -- the class of 2026. It was a cute little program, with music and diplomas, family and friends, and lots of smiles and laughter.
My, how the times have changed. If there is one word that describes Natalie's school experience, it's this: inclusion.
|Natalie, receiving her kindergarten diploma from her classroom teacher, Mrs. Nelson|
She has adaptive physical education with her buddy, Nick. Nick helps her play the games that the other kids are playing in P.E. Nick recently told me that the kids used to talk to him when they wanted to throw the ball to Natalie...now they've started to direct their words to Natalie, letting her know they want to throw the ball to her.
Natalie loves this, but more importantly, her classmates are learning that even though Natalie can't talk, she wants to play with them. They're learning compassion, just as Natalie's brothers are learning it.
In this world, I don't think there's a single more important thing to learn than compassion. Natalie has taught me this. It's a humbling experience to be the parent of a handicapped child. No one will ever understand that until it happens to them.
|Natalie, with her resource room teacher, LeAnn (left), and her para, Christy (right).|
First day of kindergarten
That's the wonderful thing about the world in which Natalie is growing up. A handicapped child isn't to be kept from others, she is to be included in every way possible.