Yesterday I got a Happy New Year card from my high school friend, Corinne. She included a letter about all of the happenings and updates on her family for 2010. Here is what she wrote about her little girl, Mia who has down's syndrome:
Mia is in kindergarten! She is fully included in a general education class without an aid! She and Cobi go to the same school, and it is a realization of a desire we've had since the day Mia was born. She is making all kinds of friends in and out of the classroom. In fact, Mia might be the most popular girl at the school! As Mia leaves school each day there are always goodbyes coming from different directions. It makes us happy to know that having Mia attend a school where there are all "typical" students is a win-win for everyone.
She is benefitting academically, verbally and socially and the other students are benefitting as well. Her teacher has told us that her students are not only more helpful and caring to Mia but she has also seen a difference in how they treat each other. She has said her whole class is just overall more tolerant and helpful. It is so heartwarming to see the loving nature of children first hand - as a little girl asks Mia on the very first day of school if she would like to sit by her at lunch and continues to be her best friend today, or when a little boy helps Mia put her shoes back on, or upon Mia leaving school for the day another boy in the class gives her a hug goodbye. We continue to love and learn from Mia each day; she is truly a gift!
As I think about my friends, my family, my children ... and all that we have going on in our lives, I can't help but think maybe each one of us has a "special need" inside of us. Ours may not be as noticable to the people around us like Mia's is, but I think we would all benefit from a little more tolerance, patience and kindness from those around us. I decided I am going to add that to my things I would like to be better at this year: being just a little bit more tolerant and patient and sweet to the people around me.