(Not a quick read - you need 10 minutes for my pre-blather and then the rest of the hour for the must-watch video to follow)
I was made aware of this video (link below) today at a meeting celebrating the accomplishments of the District Parent Liaison program I am a part of. The program is meant to provide education and resources to special education families while fostering positive collaboration between educators and parents to the benefit of special ed and regular ed children. We talked about the work we'd done in the past year, what we hope to accomplish in the next year. A back-patting, lasagna-eating, name-tag wearing afternoon. We squinted and smiled and felt good about our contributions for a few hours.
I came home and watched this video that a special ed director had reminded the group of 30 or so lasagna-eaters about. Many already knew of it, but I was hearing about it for the first time. All I knew was that it was written and performed by a high school theater group in our state - Appleton North - and that it was about awareness. I came home and watched, hoping I could find something to help Addie's sister in it, to put her at ease about Addie's future and her role in it, to help her trust others.
After seeing it, I realize we celebrated the wrong stuff, the wrong people today. We need to celebrate this taste of how articulate and aware kids are becoming about disability issues, celebrate those willing to step outside of comfort and the flow to make sure we don't forget about what is too easily forgotten. These kids who are the teachers, employers, rec department directors, doctors, grocery store owners, assistive technology engineers, legislators, neighbors of tomorrow wrote and performed this play to inspire us to act today, before they take the reins.
These young people SEE our kids, value our kids, expect things from our kids. Believe they are representative of change. Parents, have faith your newly diagnosed baby, your toddler, your preschooler with differences will grow up with the attitudes shown here, rather than the ones you fear. Believe it.
I have hope to spare after seeing this. I ask you to invest 45 minutes of your time to watch it and then pass it on in faith that our kids, my kid...together with these kids, have the power to transform.
I know, it's just a student-written, produced and performed high school play, no catchy tunes or Disney-owned stars. But these under-20's worked hard for over a year for something other than glory.
(approximately 45 minutes long)
Much Like You