I’m taking a class right now where I’m learning all sorts of things about transitioning from high school to college or the workforce and beyond. Recently, our instructor mentioned that providing our children access to relationships is pretty much the most important thing we can do for them.
Many people with disabilities have two groups of people with whom they spend time: parents and paid professionals.
It made me wonder, looking back, whether saying yes to the birthday party was more important than making sure we got through the exercises on a therapy plan. It made me wonder whether showing up for PTO meetings and connecting with friends in the evening and sitting in the local coffee shop and saying hello to people matters even more than advocacy.
It also makes me grateful for very simple afternoons like the one pictured above, where families from our church gathered to pick up trash on Earth Day. I needed to take Marilee to an event for school, so Penny spent the afternoon with other kids and adults from our church community.
The Significance of Our Social Worlds
What if our relationships matter more than anything else? For parents of kids with disabilities, what if the most important thing we can offer is connection to other people? For parents of typical kids, what if the best way to support people with disabilities is through the simple gift of relationship?
Most of us aren’t changing disability policy. Most of us don’t know how to offer physical therapy or speech therapy or medical advice. But most of us know how to show up for other people. Most of us know how to laugh and cry together. Most of us know how to build friendships. What if that’s the most important thing?
More with Amy Julia:
- Inclusion vs the Real World
- What Do I Think About the Barbie With Down Syndrome?
- Some People Are Awesome
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