Our journey of resistance, so far, has become a journey of inclusion and friendship and community. By resisting segregated and specialized options and programs we have been forced to think outside the box to find ways for our kids to remain on the same path as everyone else. This has led to my daughter having best friends, applying to university, and now planning to move into her own apartment with a supportive roommate her own age. Our journey of resistance has created a network of allies around us that has nothing to do with disability, but rather about cooperative neighbourhoods and community dinners and helping each other out. This is what I’m excited to learn more about as we move into the next part of our journey- how to invite people in with the skills to grow that network in a way that creates ‘inclusion and belonging and meaning’ for everyone, not just our daughter. We’re excited to meet and learn from others who have resisted the pull of specialized services and ‘solutions’ for the disabled, and who instead want to facilitate and build connection and community in a way that widens the stream and excludes no one.
REA-L Family Member
When my child was born with Down Syndrome in 1983 it was not a disaster. I made a promise to her the second day of her life that I would fight for her rights. We lived in four different provinces and in each one we successfully advocated for regular classes. My daughter was a pioneer and ambassador of inclusion. In grade twelve year my daughter still wanted to carry on with her education. So, with other like-minded parents we started a post-secondary education initiative to get our kids into regular courses at the University of Victoria. She attended for 5 years taking courses from the Faculty of Education in health and recreation. She graduated with the one-year teacher cohort. The Post-secondary initiative got my daughter a job at her local health store pharmacy
She has been on cruises with friends, gambled in Las Vegas, climbed into tombs in Egypt and wandered the souqs in the Emirates. She is now living independently in a home-share and got married to the person she loves.
Had Steph not been included in regular classes, recreation and life in general and had I not had the vision of how it could be, I think things would have turned out very differently.