In an effort to bring awareness, to educate ourselves and others about various illnesses and abilities, and of course to encourage kindness and inclusion for all, we have started sharing some stories of our friends! Meet our friends below!
October 12, 2020
“Hi I’m Hannah. I run @teen_with_cp. I’ve got spastic diaplegic cerebral palsy which causes me to use a wheelchair. I also struggle with hypomobility. In my life I’ve had to over come many challenges but one of the daily things I face is society. The view of a disabled persons life is normally one that’s not the same as the ‘average’ person. While that’s true in some sense I would love if people could treat us as equals even though we may not walk, talk , look or do things the same. I love to break this stigma by being involved in lots of different things. One things I enjoy is musical theatre and acting. I adapt the dances and moves for my wheelchair and love how it can bring people together. I don’t really share my hobbies so I hope that people realize we can do anything! School is a hard place for anyone but I’m the only person who has a disability in my school. This means I often feel different when I have to access things differently or do things differently.I wished people understood more about disabilities and the struggles we face. I think educating people is the most important thing we can do and accepting people’s differences is really important. This eliminates every day issues like staring and ableism. That’s what would make me feel included. Thank for Included for sharing my story. I hope you’ve learnt something. Let’s start an inclusion revolution.
If you want to follow my journey check my account @teen_with_cp out”
October 12, 2020
MEET ZOEY AND RUBY!
“We had a prenatal diagnosis that our fourth bio babe would be born with Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect! Life with Zoey was so eye opening and so beautiful that we chose Down syndrome again, adopting our fifth child, Ruby – who also has Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect! Our biggest obstacle has been and remains the girls being wholeheartedly accepted. We haven’t overcome this challenge, but
it’s why I continue to share our life and help to shift the negative narratives
and beliefs surrounding Down syndrome.
Zoey loves to draw, color, play barbies, run, jump, and reenact her favorite movie musical scenes!! She’s also making big progress with reading and math concepts!!
Ruby loves to sing, dance, & perform! She also loves art and playing outside! This summer she made huge progress and now goes underwater like a little mermaid!
Something I want people to know about my girls is that they have hearts of gold and have this inner light that just shines through so much of the time! I think people just need to be unconditionally accepting! No assumptions, no limits … get to know people as they are, where they are and go from there! Everyone is different. A diagnosis may hold commonality, but every individual is unique! It would help us feel included if people just spent time with Zoey & Ruby and got to know them on a personal level … those that have done this are rare, but they mean so much to us!!️”
October 5, 2020
MEET JORDAN GRACE!
“When I was 20 weeks pregnant we found out our baby on the way had a heart defect, she would not only require open heart surgery but also would more than likely be born with Down syndrome.
We were given the diagnosis by a very negative genetics doctor who pushed for abortion twice, before testing and again after the results came back positive.
He never once told us anything positive about what life would be like with a child with Down syndrome. He made me feel as though our lives were over.
It was a very dark time in my life, I shed many tears and asked God why me. I was devastated, fearful and sad. It took me a while to mourn the baby I thought we were having.
As time went on, I continued to pray, though I was angry with God and kept questioning Him, I began to feel peace within me. I never stopped loving my baby on the way. In fact I became more protective of her precious life.
Our Jordan Grace surprised us 3 weeks before her due date…it was a very happy, easy and calm delivery, as she was placed in my arms seconds after being born, I knew life would be better than I had imagined.
Jordan Grace is now six years old and an amazing little lady. Her zest for life inspires me. She plays hard and loves even harder. Music moves her. She’s taught us so much about life, how to live each moment to the fullest, to love with our entire soul, to enjoy the journey as much as the destination, to appreciate all life, to take time to smell the roses, and just enjoy the present.
We couldn’t be more blessed that God chose our family. What was once a sad question of “why?” Is now a prayer of thanksgiving for choosing us! God doesn’t make mistakes, our Jordan Grace is worthy of respect, love, inclusion and life!”
September 28, 2020
Calum is my son who just turned 3 on September 25th! Since Calum was born, he has always been larger than the average child. He was 11 lb 3 oz at birth and has pretty much stayed in the 90+ percentile his entire life. Calum is a healthy, active, smart, loving 3 year old who has a smile that lights up the room!
Calum wants everyone to know that we are all made special and unique and that our bodies come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes.
Just like the quotes from “Included” say, “Some may be bigger, some may be smaller, but it does not matter who is taller. ” “You are all so very special and loved by all of your family and friends given from above.”
September 21, 2020
“This is Malachi.
Malachi was diagnosed with Spina Bifida and congenital heart defects prior to birth. Spina Bifida means “split spine,” and it is a condition that occurs when the spine of a fetus fails to close completely. As a result, the individual with Spina Bifida commonly experiences some degree of paralysis and other related neurodevelopmental impairments. People with Spina Bifida may walk unaided, walk with forearm crutches or another mobility aid, or use a wheelchair.
Malachi was born in January 2018. He is two years old and a wheelchair user. He has spent over 14 months in-patient in the hospital and had six surgeries, including spinal surgery, two brain surgeries and open heart surgery. He also has a tracheostomy.
Malachi lives with his mom and dad in the Seattle area. He has two little, furball dogs, named Neptune and Marmalade. His favorite color is blue and he loves Sesame Street, giraffes, dinosaurs and construction trucks. He also loves music, sensory activities, and playing outside.
Malachi wants people to know that his disability is part of who he is, and it is what makes him a unique person. “Disability” is not a bad word, and it is okay to use that word to describe Malachi. It is the same as describing other kids as a boy or girl, white or black, tall or short. All these things make us who we are. Diversity makes our world a better place, and disability is one type of diversity.
Malachi is not included when our communities, cities and schools fail to take into account the accommodations necessary for people with disabilities. Buildings that fail to provide adequate wheelchair access, playgrounds with inaccessible equipment and woodchips, and segregated classrooms at schools are daily examples of ways in which Malachi is excluded from engaging fully with his peers. Inclusion must be something that all of us demand—even people without disabilities. We all have a responsibility to call out ableism wherever we see it. In the same way that we should all strive to be anti-racist and anti-sexist, we must also work to be anti-ableist.
Inclusion is an end-goal, alongside justice and equity. These are hard things to achieve due to the long history of inequality in this country and other countries around the world. Yet, we keep marching forward— because that vision of a world built on inclusion and justice and equity—is worth marching toward.”
September 14, 2020
We know how tough it can be to think of ways to include others during these times in which we are told to stay apart. This week we will introduce you to a Special Education teacher who has some suggestions on how to be inclusive this school year!
“I have been teaching special education for nine years and working with kids who have special needs for fifteen years.
This school year due to COVID, our learners have started in-person four days a week and one day online. Our students are joining their peers during one of two cohorts while wearing a mask and staying six feet. This has been very difficult to find the best way to keep our kids safe while having them included with their peers.
Communication is a HUGE part of our day. Being able to learn from peers and make connections with kids who are their age is so important. It is also so special to see their peers learning about our ability levels and explaining to others who don’t know why they do things differently or use certain equipment.To help promote inclusion during this time, we are making a plexiglass wall with a stand on each side so our learners can sit on one side with their peers on the other. They would be able to do read-alouds and colors or build across from one another while still being able to see and talk together!”
August 31, 2020
“Nathan was unexpectedly born with a rare critical heart condition called Super cardiac TAPVR, he had an obstructed form which made him very sick. He had 2 open heart surgeries before the age of two months. After the first surgery he was diagnosed with a very progressive form of Pulmonary Vein Stenosis. There was no cure or treatment for this. Our only hope was a double lung transplant. At 10 months old Nathan became the 7th baby in all of Canada to have received a double lung transplant.
Nathan spent pretty much the better part of two years in an ICU. He was very sick and had to overcome a lot medically. We took it day by day and celebrated our wins. We treated the ICU like our home and brought as much normalcy to Nathans life.
Nathan is trach and vented, this puts him at a disadvantage but we don’t let that stop us! Nathan is starting to stand on his own, he can but scoot all around the house while pushing his equipment with him. Nathan loves going for walks and playing in the swings at the park.
Despite everything we have been through, Nathan is the happiest boy I have ever known. He doesn’t see that he is different since we teach him his ability within his disabilities. He’s always smiling.
We haven’t fully experienced this [not feeling included] yet as Nathan is still very young. The one change I would like to see is more awareness and normalizing people with differences. I want Nathan to grow up and see people like him and be proud. I want companies to promote products using “normal” people like us.”
August 24, 2020
“At 6 months old, Hudson was diagnosed with a rare neuromuscular condition called Nemaline Rod Myopathy Type 3. This condition affects all skeletal muscles. Hudson eats through a G tube because eating orally isn’t safe since he silently aspirates.
Summer of 2019, Hudson caught the common cold. After a 1 month hospitalization, a tracheostomy surgery, and recovering from a collapsed lung, we were sent home on a ventilator.
Hudson’s overcome so much in his 2 years of life. 2 life flights, 6 different hospitals, countless ambulance rides, 3 surgeries, CO2 build up from his weak breathing, constantly in and out of his hospital PICU, he is finally doing better than he ever has! Our faith in the lord is what keeps us going after going through so much in just a year and a half! (He hasn’t been hospitalized in almost 6 months)
Hudson’s condition only affects muscles, so that means he is cognitively alert and aware. He is so silly and absolutely loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!!! He loves to dance and be silly with his Daddy!
We often feel excluded in this life, while our family are avid river rats and beach bums, we are very restricted to travel and weather and accessibility conditions so we often just walk around our local outdoor malls to get out and about. 🙂
I’d love if people would just be more kind to everyone! And don’t let someone’s disability scare you out of a friendship! We ALL want to be loved and included, different is okay! We can all learn so much from each other “