Tuesday, October 18, 2016

This is What Inclusion Looks Like

Tonight I sat on a hard gym bleacher watcing an AAU practice.  This gal has spent many countless hours in the gym doing the same thing for our oldest but tonight I was sitting there for our David.  Our special needs child with low muscle tone, who has scars from battling cancer, and whose IQ is just below the magic line to be labeled with an intellectual disability, was invited to be on a local AAU basketball team.  Those who know David well know that basketball is his life, and watching him out on that court with his peers from school playing on a real team just about made this Momma come undone.  
 Tonight, my friends, I witnessed the pure straight up magic of inclusion.  Because David has been exposed to the typical curriculum in regular classes, he has made lots of friends- true friends who love him for who he is.  They certainly know he has a disability but good friends certainly do not count chromosomes.  Good friends know David loves basketball and has a pretty decent shot so when they needed a player they reached out to David.  I cannot handle the awesomeness that happened in that gym tonight.
We are certainly realistic and know that David will not be the tallest kid on the team and will not be called on to do the jump ball, or be the clutch foul shooter in a close game, but that is not what this is all about.  David has been given the opportunity to be on a team, receive a uniform, and make memories with his peers from school.  That is worth more than any basketball stats that will be kept this season in the stat book.
 Tonight the boys that missed two foul shots had to run suicides, and this Momma was probably the happiest mother ever to witness her child running suicides.  I love that the coach holds him to the same expectation as the other players, and has set the bar high for our Dave.  He does not have the ability that others may have but what this guy lacks in ability he compensates for it with heart and work ethic.
 Just when my heart was already beating out of my chest, Kyle was called out on the court to help in some drills.  I looked up and saw his awesome coach working with him on foul shots as big brother cheered him on.  God has certainly blessed our Dave with an amazing village around him!

Tonight I witnessed a beautiful example of what inclusion looks like-it looks like a child with a significant disability being included with his peers, being held to the same standard but with his friends recognizing that David was made a little differently.  I am not sure how many games this team will win this year but after witnessing their first practice, it truly does not matter because this team is made up of winners-from their coach down to every player who welcomed my son and encouraged him during his first practice.  This Momma is so thankful and overwhelmed by the magic of inclusion.

I also got to cheer on my favorite girl tonight playing tennis and this sweet girl was a joy to watch!  May her heart stay pure and her determination never dim.  She too is a winner!

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