What Parents of Children with Disabilities Wished the World Knew About Inclusion

Outcome: By the end of this lesson, you will have read 30 wishes from parents. Let's make those wishes come true by taking in what they have to say.

Lesson Length : 10 minutes

Two teens with disabilities hold hands after a day of summer camp and pose for a picture with their mothers.


  1. Read the the list of what parents of children with disabilities knew about inclusion.
  2. As you read, write down what barrier to inclusion the parents are trying to express in their wishes. 
  3. Answer Pause & Reflect questions 

We asked parents of PlayGarden Summer Campers, "What is one thing you wished the world knew about inclusion?"

This is what they said:
  1. That being disabled does not mean that you are less, you are different but not less. Look at Steve Hawking, Bill Gates, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Michael Phelps, and many more. They are abled differently, but they have done far more than a typically developed/ NT person.
  2. That just because our world is geared towards .mainstream society doesn’t mean that a person who is wired differently/ disabled children need to be fixed, rather we all as a society need to accept, not just be aware of disabled folks and let them have their own voice.
  3. You can be true friends with someone with a disability. I don’t know if I knew that before my daughter. I don’t have any friends with visible disabilities but why don’t I? And, it doesn’t have to be a charity. It can be true friendship
  4. My son tries really hard and really wants to “behave” – even though his behavior can be “bad” he is kind and thoughtful and loving all the way through his soul.
  5. My son. wants to participate in everything that healthy children do, but he doesn’t always feel well enough – which doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want to try.
  6. He’s perfect the way he is. Everyone has “special needs”. IQ is a made up, agreed upon set of values. There is so much more to a human
  7. I wish people weren’t embarrassed or offended when another person responds to their conversation differently from what they expect.
  8. She is an amazing, creative, sensitive human being who is extremely capable of doing anything she puts her mind to.
  9. That he isn’t someone to be feared and it’s ok to tell him when a behavior of his is feeling too uncomfortable.
  10. Even if he can’t talk, he can understand what is being said to him or about him.
  11. She deserves to be with typical peers and accommodated to be successful.
  12. Really any child – all are different and should be recognized as such.
  13. Behavior changes day to day and medications effect on body and mind
  14. He’s so sweet and funny and really loves taking care of others!
  15. She wants and deserves all the same experiences as other kids.
  16. Often overlooked because she is shy, quiet, and mild mannered.
  17. He understands and wants to make decisions for himself.
  18. He can be included when given appropriate supports.
  19. She is a teenager just like any other teenager.
  20. How to interact with a non-verbal person.
  21. He’s a whole person, not a disability.
  22. knows more than she displays
  23. She is everything bright and good.
  24. That it’s ok to speak TO her.
  25. Her needs deserve to be met
  26. That he is a good friend.
  27. PJ has a huge heart
  28. Assume competence!
  29. He is a person.
  30. He is amazing.

Pause & Reflect

  1. How did you feel reading these wishes from parents?
  2. What barriers to inclusion are the parents expressing in these wishes?
  3. Select three identified barriers and think of ways you can remove those barriers be that in your personal or professional life. Write them down.