Choosing a School for our precious ones is never easy but the real value of this accomplishment can only be understood by the parents of a child with down syndrome or other special needs. We are always comparing, questioning, arguing, pushing or advocating what can be changed and how a school can make a huge difference in our child’s way of learning; social or otherwise.
8 years ago when I put my son in the school he is going now, I never realized that this was going to be a union that we both would learn greatly from. At that time, what only mattered was that it was one of a kind experiential learning, upcoming school and I was happy that they were paying equal or more attention to sports, co- curricular and extra curricular activities along with a No exam policy till 7th standard. Getting in, was difficult but I made it. And the confidence my son developed within a short span of time was totally worth the effort.
But things were different when it was my daughter’s turn to get into the school system. The same school went from being apprehensive, not welcoming to plain discouraging to take her in. I was adamant, by law they couldn’t have said “no” and I knew it. Well, the long and short of it is that now both my kids are going to this school and I am proud of the fact that the school is going out of its normal ways to sensitize its students about the children with special needs. One look at their “school diary” and one knows they are serious about the issue.
And the same effort looks at other places too. For instance this was the homework my son got the other day and though it was part of a lesson about “diversity and discrimination”, I loved the way the questions were framed. My son was super enthusiastic about the task as he could write what he knew best in the class about” Down Syndrome”. I felt so proud when he finished the question and showed it to me. Here it is…
The question was : Can you make a poster requesting people to be considerate towards children with special needs?
And this is what my son came up with…
The truth is awareness doesn’t happen overnight. It takes days, months, years and generations to make changes in the mindset of a society. The way we look at a child with Down syndrome or any other special ability is defined by how we were brought or taught about it. I can only hope that more schools can follow the footsteps and bring in the change because when we as parents do it, we only reach few but when a school does something like this, it brings a change in attitudes, sensibilities and social typecasts of a whole generation of tomorrow. The generation, which is going to be the co workers, co passengers, friends, acquaintances, team mates, class mates and life mates of our child with special needs…!! What do you think?
Aarshia and Mama
This blog post is a part of 31 for 21 blog hop for down syndrome awareness month…!!