What Is Inclusion?
First let's talk about what inclusion is. Here is the definition we found online.
Inclusion- the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of other minority groups.
But to take that farther, Inclusion is a mindset, not a place. The mindset that everyone has value. It is recognizing the value in each person feeling like they belong. It is presuming competence, that each child can learn, even if they can't show that learning the way their typical peers do. It is about making the least dangerous assumptions instead of making the assumption that a child can't keep up. (FYI, They don't have to).
It is also a civil right. Segregating is never equal. Federal laws were passed over 45 years ago that require students with disabilities be educated with their typically developing peers with accommodations and modifications to help them access the curriculum.
Yet so many schools in our state convince parents that their child will learn more and get more support in a Segregated learning environment. As early as kindergarten, children are funneled into the segregated environments, and are never even given the chance to try a general education classroom, with supports. Parents who fight the system and hold their ground can often get schools to follow the law, but it takes a lot of advocacy. Sutudies show that kids who are included have a much smaller learning gap, than those who are segregated. So why is it still being done?
Down syndrome Acceptance and Inclusion month is about knocking down the systematic limitations our families face every day. Parent's should not have to spend so much time and efforts to get schools to follow the law. When you see injustice, segregation, inequality, please speak up.
Every child benefits from learning in an inclusive environment.
We work hard in our community to educate and shout the value of individuals with Down syndrome all year long. This month we invite the general public to join in our celebration. Get to know a person with Down syndrome. I bet they might just surprise you.
We were so excited to host the Lincoln Buddy Walk on June 12, 2021 at Gateway Mall. Since the mall did not open until 11 am it was a perfect place for our families to walk in support of their loved ones and with lots of space to social distance. We were so excited that our afternoon club core participants were able to be there, mostly at the same time, to help us celebrate.
Thank you to everyone who came out today to Yanney Park to support the 2021 DSAA NE Kearney Buddy Walk. Your support means the world to us. We enjoyed getting to see everyone in person and feeling all the love! #dsaane, #buddywalknebraska
We are excited to have one of our board members co-presenting a webinar for the National Down Syndrome Congress Ages and Stages 3-5 year old session this week. Angie Willey, Advanced Singning Time Instructor, and Kim Yager, President and Founder of Little Leaf Learning Center in Omaha will be presenting a session called Underwear 4 Kindergarten. This is a new approach to potty training that Kim has been using at her center that has been been having wonderful results. This progam has families start much earlier and getting food healthy habits set before kids learn behaviors that can impede learning. Join us on March 31st at 2pm CST for this informative and life changing workshop. You won't regret it. Register at the NDSC;s website. #underweear4kindergarten
DSAA Nebraska is excited to be hosting 2 fundraisers tomorrow at 2 different Runza Restaurants. If you are in Lincoln Nebraska, please support us at the Runza at 4901 O street Between 11 am and 4 pm on March 21 World Down Syndrome Day. If you are in Kearney, visit the North Runza from 5-8pm. In Kearney there will also be a car parade starting at 4:30 at the Merryman parking lot and ending at the Runza. Join us and help celebrate those with Down syndrome in our communities. #wdsd21 #dsaawdsd #dsaakind
wdsdTo help our families with celebrating World Down Syndrome Day we are doing a contest to promote doing Random Acts of Kindness. Until Saturday March 20th, please post pictures of the kind things that you do in your community on Social Medial. Use the hashtags #dsaakind or #dsaawdsd so we can find your posts. On Sunday, 3-21 we will draw a winner to win a Down syndrome awareness item of their choice. They could choose a necklace, t-shirt, Peanut Butter Falcon movie, or Wooden Arrow wall hanging.
To help families, we have created a World Down Syndrome Day Page with pintables that you can use when you spread kindness, hand out treats for WDSD or anything else you choose to do to celebrate the day. Go to https://www.dsaane.org/wdsd.html to find your WDSD resources. #wdsd21 #dsaane #dsaakind #dsaawdsd #dsawareness
Today is the day to make your pledge! Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), a group made up of over 200 million people representing every country, belief system, sexual orientation, gender expression, race, and ethnicity, continue to be excluded and isolated from their peers in schools, workplaces, and communities around the world. By taking the Pledge to Include and by acting for meaningful inclusion, you can combat the hurtful and dehumanizing effects of exclusion. Make your pledge here
Down Syndrome Advocates in Action Nebraska, is a group for parents run by parents.