Tag - when your kid is left out

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When Your Child With A Disability Is Told, “You Can’t Play With Us!”
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When Your Child Is Shunned

When Your Child With A Disability Is Told, “You Can’t Play With Us!”

  My daughter loves playing at the park at the end of our street. She’d stay for hours if she could. But since she’s a child with a disability, she can’t go to the park by herself like her peers do—they can come and go as they please, but my kiddo has to drag her mother along. “Drag” makes me sound like an unwilling companion, but I’m usually content to supervise. Though some days, admittedly it’s inconvenient. And boring. After a few pumps on the swing and perhaps an (awkward) chin-up or two on the monkey bars, my thoughts quickly turn to, “I need to start dinner” or “I have to return that phone call by 5pm” or “I have to pee” or “I wish I brought more coffee” or “I really, really have to pee.”  But she’s a kid who needs fresh air, and climbing and swinging, and companionship, and your basic childhood fun, so I park myself at the park.  Yesterday was a beautiful spring afternoon so I was happy to spend some time warming the park bench.  Within a few minutes of arriving, the play structure filled with kids from Avery’s school. They quickly organized a game of[…]

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When Your Child Is Shunned

Conversations like these with my eight-year-old special girl make me want to scoop her up in my arms and then storm down to the playground, finger wagging, to kick some rude kid butt. Me: How was school today? Avery: Good. I made you a card. I did my letters.  Me: Who did you play with at recess? Avery: Katie and Susanna. But Katie say, “Go play with your own friends.” Me: What?! Avery: She say to me, “Go away.”  Me: Silence. Stewing. Blood pressure rising.  Me: So what did you do? Avery: I want to play with Susanna, but Katie say, “Play with your own friends.” Me: So who did you play with? Avery: I just walked around by myself. Avery adores Katie (not her real name). We’ve had her over to our house a lot. But things have changed. Katie who was new to the school last year and didn’t speak English, has friends now—friends she’s not willing to share. This isn’t a post about “mean girls.” It’s old news that kids can be little a-holes. It’s also a fact that kids who are different are often excluded. Different is not “cool” in elementary school. No, this isn’t anything[…]

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