A noble stand by the Sakin family
June 1, 2011
The story of Arden Sakin is really one of bravery. As a parent of special needs who has confronted some of the same challenges, I admire Arden’s parents’ courage to take a stand on behalf of their daughter, and on behalf of the children whose well-being and success is reliant on a school system that celebrates diversity.
The real shame in this is that by singling out Arden from participating fully in high school activities, valuable “teaching moments” for the students were missed. Special-needs kids sometimes look different, speak differently, and are generally different than your “average” kid, so our kids may naturally, as some adults do, feel uncomfortable around them.
Educating our kids by modeling inclusion is the only way to teach them what diversity looks like, and how much joy such diversity can bring. In the process, adults and children are reminded that we all face obstacles, that the term “disabled” is too easily and often misunderstood to mean “unable,” and that children with increased obstacles often carry on as anyone would, as is the case with Arden and so many special needs kids that I know.
Every day I am inspired by my children, one of whom has special needs, and two of whom, though born without disability, also have special needs in that their life is different because of their brother who has taught them how to love without judgment and fear, how to be patient when it is difficult, but most of all how to accept and embrace a world in which diversity is a reality.
I wish for the same for our community’s kids: to be a part of an educational system that gives them the opportunity to love without judgment or fear, to be patient and inclusive when it may not be easy, and how to be stewards in a world that accepts and learns from diversity.
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