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5 Ways Parents Can Encourage Inclusion for Children with Disabilities

August 24, 2023 in Uncategorized - No Comments

I will never forget the first time I saw my daughter being openly excluded at school. I was volunteering in the classroom that day and it was “free play” time.  The kids all scattered to different parts of the room–dress up area, blocks, the soft shag rug to read, and the art table.  I saw Callie approach a group of girls near the art easels (she has always loved art).  I saw the first girl give her a side eye and shift her body away from Callie putting her back slightly to her.  One by one the other girls followed suit, forming a circle with their backs to Callie.

A circle in which Callie was not included.

Part of me wanted to scream.  Another part of me wanted to make sure she never interacted with those girls again.  Part of me felt so sad for those girls (and their parents).


Inclusion is a word that gets used frequently in the disability community.  And inclusion is much more than my broken heart over Callie being excluded from the art area in first grade. I worry about a world where she is not afforded the same access to things, the same opportunities, or where her unique way of moving around in the world is not considered.

Here’s a fun fact: In 2021, only 19.1% of persons with a disability were employed, as stated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor, and 29% of workers with a disability were employed part-time, compared with 16% of those with no disability.

Inclusion needs to be a priority from birth. Making it a social norm for neurotypical children to cultivate deep relationships with disabled children will provide more opportunities for those children in the future. My daughter’s peers will feel less uncertainty about her value if they are learning alongside her from the start. Because of inclusion, these relationships naturally develop, enhancing the lives and emotional IQ of her peers, and those peers will in turn will learn to advocate for her and the disabled community, not just in adolescence, but well into adulthood.

When a portion of the population is excluded from quality health care, inclusive early education, social involvement, higher learning opportunities, access to local playgrounds/business/parks/movie theaters, they will fail to flourish. All humans need friends, purpose, and health-related resources. All humans have inherent worth regardless of their abilities.  All humans deserve the opportunity to meet their highest potential.

So how can you help?

Taking small actions to start a conversation in your home from an early age will aid in creating an inclusive society.  Here’s five of our favorite ways to bring inclusivity to your world.

Create a diverse library.

Read books that show diversity—not just in race or gender, but in ability. You can have so many meaningful conversations about disabilities and what they mean because of books. It’s such an easy way to start a conversation on the topic (in a safe environment like your home) and helps avoid uncomfortable statements while in public.

Use the right language in your home.

It’s always people first. Don’t refer to Jack as the “blind boy in your class,” or say “You know, the girl in the wheelchair in your class, Sally?” These types of statements discount the value and worth of the individual–negating the entire person they are outside of their disability. Jack is not “just a blind boy,” but he also has blond hair, wears his favorite color blue every day, is a great big brother and loves soccer. Using the right language from the start will create an atmosphere where the diagnosis is secondary, not the main focus.

Don’t shame your kids for asking questions.

As parents, we are often worried about what will come out of those little mouths. I remember the first time someone looked at Callie and asked, “Momma, is she a robot?” The mom turned beet red, looked at me in embarrassment,  shushed him and told him to be quiet.

Of course, it only increased his curiosity and he continued to follow Callie around the park asking if she knew the Terminator.

Looking back, this was an example of how we as a society are falling short at home to expose our kids to people who look or move differently than ourselves. If your child notices that you feel uncomfortable around a person with a disability, they will then translate that difference as something to avoid or that is bad. So say hello, ask how old the child is, or how our day is going. If your child asks an uncomfortable question (they will–they are kids, use it as a teaching moment and embrace their curiosity!), the individual or parent will let you know if they don’t want to share.  And most importantly–smile, don’t stare.

Diversify your own circle.

Invite people in, especially those who you might have (unintentionally) left out before. Just because someone is different doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot to offer you or your family. People with disabilities can be great lifelong friends and provide rich experiences and insight to your life.

When a birthday comes up, don’t count them out in these early years. As a parent of a child with a disability, I know there will come a time when your child invites their peers by choice. But if a child of a different ability has been left out from the start, they have no fighting chance to be included later. Whether it’s play dates, mommy nights out, or parties, or sports, these kids and their families want all the same experiences you look forward too.

Advocate, advocate, advocate.

If you see a fellow parent seeking inclusion in the classroom, in a community program, or sports team—have their back. Now, I don’t expect you to stand in a protest line with me (I’m totally down if you are though), but speak up if the opportunity presents itself. Lend an ear to the cause and offer support. All children benefit greatly from an inclusive educational system–not just kids with disabilities. Your children get the extraordinary experience of learning how to be prepared to offer compassion, kindness, and friendship to people of all types of backgrounds, races, religions, and abilities. And even better–early exposure will provide them with an advantage to operate in a diverse world later in life as adults.



Hi everyone! Thanks so much for stopping by! My name is Jaime! Wife to my better half, James, who is my moon and all of my stars. We are parents to our little warrior princess, Callie Grace. We started this blog to share our journey as we navigate through our crazy beautiful life. Callie is a lower limb amputee and I am a Type One Diabetic. We are hoping to change the face of beauty one step at a time! We hope by sharing our story, you leave with a little bit more inspiration and hope! Thank you so much for stopping by and joining our tribe!

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About Me

About Me


Hi Y'all! I’m Jaime, a proud working mama, author, girl boss and wifey to an ultra-adorable husband. I am a huge book nerd, I drink coffee like my life depends on it, and run on dry shampoo and Amazon Prime. Leopard print is my favorite color. I am a story teller at heart and this blog is a virtual scrapbook of our crazy beautiful life. I'm a Type One Diabetic and our little warrior princess Callie is a lower limb amputee. By sharing how we’ve chosen to flourish in the garden we’ve been planted in, we hope you can take some small nuggets of hope, inspiration, and laughter. We are so grateful that you’ve found us—welcome to the fam. We embrace our perfectly imperfect lives and don’t let the doctor’s appointments, spreadsheets, speaking engagements, 10th birthday parties to plan, housework or date nights overwhelm us. Those things are just the beautiful reminders of all the blessings in our lives. Read More



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