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Archive for April 8th, 2015

I love the definition for integration, in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary :

-“incorporation as equals into society or an organization of individuals of different groups” 

In the world I work, (that of working in a high school) primarily with students who have a special needs diagnosis, integration is most commonly associated with incorporation in classrooms, in study, in learning. That is an important part of integration into a school community.

But, in the world I (we) live, integration is most frequently sought, desired and dreamed of in terms of not the academic, but the social, the relational. Those, who live with delays, disorders, diagnosis, and syndromes desire to be incorporated, as equals, into the world around them … they want friends.

“what a person desires is unfailing love …”
Proverbs 19:22

In the past dozen years of working in middle and high schools I have had the privilege of seeing such integration, incorporation, take place. I have observed students who sincerely care for and about their peers, with or without a diagnosis. I have seen parents of kids with special needs, and without, make the effort to model and encourage respect, kindness and equality for those around them.

Certainly, I have observed bullying, ignorance and exclusion, as well. But, more often I have seen the beauty of human care for each other, human love for each other.

This caring, this loving, this including of each other, it is a messy thing to practice. It is messy whether special needs, illness, or disability are present or not.

Lets face it, equality is messy whenever humans are involved.

But, to truly and sincerely incorporate and integrate as equals … what an awesome thing.

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