Excluding Inclusion

Micah Pederson by Micah Pederson Additional Needs

Micah Pederson

Micah Pederson

I am a mom to two children biologically and many children through foster care. My husband and I have been married three years. Our foster home is a...

Inclusion—These nine small letters string together to create a concept that has gained massive momentum in recent years.

The idea of inclusion packs a powerful punch that just about any advocate for individuals with special needs would rush to position him or herself behind.

Really, what isn’t there to love about inclusion?

It is a wonderful ideology: create accessibility allowing those whose needs differ from the mainstream to engage in activities, routines, relationships, et cetera, that the majority take for granted.

We praise inclusion because it has begun to chisel a gate within the thick barriers of society—but perhaps it is time to smash the barriers all together.

You see, the very need for inclusion itself draws attention to the fact that our society embraces an invisible hierarchy of normal, and we must therefore strive to blend the edges of certain circles and levels into others.

However, imagine a world where there is no need for inclusion because the hierarchy has been abolished—dissolved into unrecognizable fragments in the name of the equality of all human worth and diversity.

What if we chose to strive for the creation of a society where labels of “typical vs non” cease to exist?

Instead of labels and categories, we could discover ourselves as one valuable piece in a collection of humans who dance upon the debris of normal, each one aglow with the radiance of his or her uniqueness both in giftedness and struggle.

What if, instead of patting ourselves on the back for inviting in those whom we perceive as different, we chose to step out and embrace a view we didn’t know existed?

As a Special Education teacher and mom to multiple children with special needs, I have preached inclusion for many years.

Honestly, I probably still will for years to come because in the daily grind of interactions with our current society, inclusion makes a great deal of sense. But we cannot stop there.

More than inclusion, more than simply tolerance, accessibility, or even acceptance, I ache for all of humankind to be seen as completely and whole-heartedly worthwhile of being celebrated, enjoyed, learned from, and valued before ever meeting a single social or societal norm.

While it is not feasible or wise to kick inclusion to the curb entirely, I believe we can take some big swings at the walls while choosing to walk across the gap we try too hard to pull others through.

Acceptance does not always mean giving a person permission to become like ourselves, but giving them permission to recreate what we have become comfortable with.

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