Friday I met with a representative of Dallas Public Schools to discuss PPCD (Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities) for Grace. (I want to discuss the meeting in detail but I think it deserves it's own posting.) Based on the preliminary evaluation of Grace's cognitive skills she may not qualify for the traditional PPCD setting. This is actually a good thing as Grace's cognitive skills seem to be on par with her peers and I will probably put her in preschool with her siblings (yahoo!).
Anyway, we also discussed what elementary school might look like for Grace in a integrated system, such as Dallas has. It all sounded really good and acceptable but as I left the meeting I began thinking about how the other children in school will treat her. Even though we are very hopeful that she will walk, she will most likely appear different in her motor abilities than others. Will the other children be able to see past the physical differences and embrace her? Will she be included in the popular girls' groups? Will she be bullied?
My parents tried to teach me and my brother and sister many things when we were growing that I am so thankful for. Some of these things included empathy, compassion, respect, love for mankind. We were always taught that we were no better than anyone else and that everyone should be treated the same. Unfortunately, not everyone feels that way. In school, I remember several bullies...people that picked on or mistreated others that were different than they were, whether it was their height, their weight, their IQ, their color or just any little thing they could pick out. Why does someone become a bully? How should we respond to bullies? Have you ever been bullied? I don't know the answers but I like what David and Kathryn have to say about it here and here