As children get older, it becomes more difficult to be inclusive. Bridget’s age, it’s kind of forced inclusion. Every kid gets invited to the birthday party. Kids spend most of their day in one class, so a teacher is more apt to see what child needs the extra attention and what child just needs to visit the take a break chair. As her sister ages through the school system, I notice there are fewer children with special needs in her circle.
Some of this is attrition. When a child ages and becomes more complex, alternative schools become not only an option but a necessity. Some of this is just typical. There is less parental/teacher involvement in how a child develops friendships, we no longer invite every classmate to the party. (Thank goodness). We do not realize that one (or more) children are being excluded.
As her friends get into make-up and boys, will she understand? As her friends
talk on the phone (okay is 2019) …as they text each other at night and do group chats is this something Bridget is going to be able to participate in, meaningfully, to keep that connection?
I do not want Bridget’s friends to ever include her out of pity. I want the same excitement I see today to last forever.
It’s not deliberate, the exclusion. Children make friends with those they have something in common. Whether it is dancing, soccer or imagination. The child with a disability may be included, naturally and without reminder. That is my hope for Bridget.
I know that some dreams might not come true.
I really hope this one does.