I’m thankful for the GAP

Words I never thought I would utter. But truly, I am thankful for the GAP. Ellen at Love that Max  posted a picture on Facebook of the latest GAP add. Giving them a shout out for including a girl with cerebral palsy.

I had to blow up the add to the full-view to find her.

What is amazing to me is that we have finally arrived in a place that no big announcement was made. There was no PR release (that I know of) saying “look at us, are we not wonderful for including this girl in the photo”. Instead it was without fanfare. It is the norm.

Kids with special needs are included in the classroom. Why would they not be in the class picture? Whether it is Bridget’s defined “integrated” preschool or Abby’s mainstreamed one. All public schools have children with disabilities.

Gearing up for a Thanksgiving project at Abby’s school, we were talking about gratitude the other night. She told me she was grateful Bridget had special needs. Otherwise she and her friends might not realize that just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you are weird, strange or not to be included. That without Bridget she and her friends might not have known anyone like Bridget.

Except, there are children with Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Autism and a whole bunch of other syndromes in their class. But they do not see the disability, they see their friend. That they are part of the class, no qualifier.

When you look at the ad above and find the wheelchair, you do not know what disability the child has. All you see is her in the chair surrounded by her classmates. This is what inclusion looks like, my friends.

How great is that?

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