My oldest daughter Lindsay (pictured left) is a sweet, 25-year-old young lady who is developmentally disabled. I’ve always pushed for her to be in inclusion programs believing that she would have the best opportunities if she were surrounded by typical kids. This was my mantra all through her educational career and it seemed to work out well in a school setting. She learned appropriate behavior etc. from her classmates.
When my other daughters were taking dance classes, I initially thought I should enroll Lindsay in a typical dance class too. This, however, turned out to be the wrong decision on my part. The kids were very kind to her during class, but this didn’t translate into friendships outside of the studio. I began to wonder if my staunch position on inclusion was really the right way to go.
Later, an acquaintance of Lindsay’s invited her to participate in dance class at danceability. After looking into it I signed Lindsay up. This was one of the best decisions I have made as a mom, for my daughter’s emotional and social well-being. Through danceability she has made countless friends. The girl who invited Lindsay to participate has become her best friend. She has blossomed into a social butterfly with confidence to boot! She so looks forward to Monday nights, going to class and seeing her friends. These special needs peers have become real friends not just dance classmates.
I learned a valuable lesson through this. The inclusion model is not always the right answer. During her experience with a typical dance school she never felt included even though it was “an inclusive setting” in theory. She is so happy now to be with friends, teachers and dance partners who not only accept her, but truly embrace and celebrate her!
Thank you danceability!
– Terry Regan
danceability parent & Board member
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