Inclusion is so important for kids on both ends of the spectrum – regular education students and special education students. There is so much that they can learn from each other. I think it is one of the most vital parts of the school experience. Inclusion is not only crucial for a child’s school experience, it helps prepare them for the real world.
Kailey Lynn, and students like her, deserves to be a part of things. They deserve the opportunity to participate in everything that other students get to do. Kailey Lynns teacher, Ms. Watson, says that she “wants to see the mutual relationships form and continue through high school.” She has gotten to see that with some of my students and has witnessed firsthand, how it has changed their lives. Ms. Watson said “I want that for all of my students. They should be able to be who they are with no repercussions or being left out of anything!” Special needs children and adults are people, just like you and I. To not include them, would be robbing them of their rights and personal happiness.
On March 16th, Kailey Lynn, was the first special education student to participate in her middle schools annual talent show. Her teacher, Ms. Watson, was the emcee and was very determined to include one of her students in the show. After seeing how intrigued Kailey Lynn was at seeing the song “Whom Shall I Fear”, by Chris Tomlin, in sign language, Ms. Watson knew who she wanted to work with. Kailey Lynn didn’t know very many signs prior to watching this video, but she knew the song and started following along. This gave Ms. Watson the idea to step outside the box and have Kailey Lynn perform in sign language, at the talent show. She thought it “would be something totally different for the talent show” and she was excited to see one of her special education students included in the show!
Ms. Watson was going to perform with Kailey Lynn to provide extra support, but after realizing that there just wasn’t enough time for her to learn the song and continue to help Kailey Lynn, she “was thinking about a general education student who would be really good at helping her with this,” said Ms. Watson. There was one student that came to mind, Victoria, or in the words of Kailey Lynn, “Todi.” Ms. Watson chose her “because she is such a sweet child who cares about everyone” and she thought she would enjoy it! Victoria’s mom was very excited and Victoria was very eager to help.
Victoria and Kailey Lynn practiced one day after school and several times leading up to the talent show. There was so much excitement between these two girls- a general education and a special education student. They did not focus on their differences, only the thing that brought them together. Kailey Lynn could not learn or remember every sign, but Victoria, the child with a full range vocabulary did.
When the girls took the stage, the room that was once filled with other students and parents softly whispering over performers, instantly became silent. All eyes and ears were on these girls as the screen behind them said something different than it had for all other performers prior, “sign language.” You could have heard a pin drop, but when the song was over, there wasn’t a dry eye and there was a loud applause, with the only standing ovation of the night. The joy that filled that large cafeteria was that of complete inspiration.
Kailey Lynn was the first special education student to perform in her middle school’s talent show, but I’m sure she won’t be the last. She has now let everyone know that everyone should be included if they desire. The bond and friendship that was formed preparing for this, was unexpected, but helpful to both girls. Victoria, got to help a child who often has been left out. For Kailey Lynn, a child with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, she let her disabilities go and felt a sense of belonging. Parents of special needs children should strive to make sure their children live a life of equality and include them in daily activities, just like a typical child. They may do it different, but when they are included, they set examples for others and let the world know that they are people too.
Here at Tyron Law Firm, we firmly believe in all of our clients. We do all we can to make sure they have the resources they need. If you would like more information on inclusion and ways to help your child or someone else’s, with needs in the community, please contact us at the Tyrone Law Firm.