One of the ways in which I feel ridiculously, frighteningly lucky
is in my children's school, which is an inclusion school. For those of
you not in the know, that means its classes are made up of kids in both
the general education and special education populations, to the benefit
While it's had its challenges—Mommy, why doesn't he get in trouble when
he screams at the teachers?—it has its far more amazing rewards, mostly
in their developing a wide and deep empathy, an understanding that not everything is as
easy for other people as it might be for you. It helps them
to understand that one of the possible reactions to other kids is
acceptance, even when they're very different from you. And it helps
them know to ask for acceptance from others when
they're the one who's different or having a hard time.
When Diana got this month's issue of Muse magazine, there was an
amazing section called (I think?) "Other Voices," a series of short articles
written by people on the autistic spectrum. I have already gushed about
how very much we love this magazine; it's silly and brilliant and
interesting, but this issue makes me love it even more. So many books we read have the whole "motley crew" (not the band) group of kids: the smart one! the wiseass! the loner! the young one! etc., etc. and there have been, which there weren't so much before, nods towards kids of different races and socioeconomic levels, but the whole issue of social skills? Being really different? I mean, really really different, in a way that can be uncomfortable? It's just not dealt with so much, other than as a sort of cool super-freaky thing—from a distance. And in barges Muse, giving people voice, making dumbass jokes about pie-throwing, bringing people in to their silly, excellent world. I can't tell you how happy it made me.
And do any of you know of books that do this?