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  • Writer's pictureChristine McCarty

Inclusion starts in the home

In raising three daughters, I am often astonished how different each is in their own way. Raising both neurotypical children and a special needs child is extremely interesting, challenging and enlightening. It makes me appreciate things many take for granted, like being able to communicate, expressing feelings, adapting to situations, walking, and even a simple smile. It also highlights the importance of family and the interaction amongst all my children.

Along with Addy (7), I am also raising two neurotypical children: Alex (11) and Andi (4). Being the oldest, Alex is independent, mature, and “wise” beyond her years. Andi, being the youngest, is sassy, smart and independent as well. They are completely different in the way they approach life, but share the love and compassion for their sister, Addy.

Andi is a bit too young to fully understand, but she is extremely protective of Addy and is always willing to help her. Andi has also helped with Addy’s speech as she is constantly engaging in conversation with her. It’s remarkable to watch!

Alex is much more hands on, taking on more responsibility comprehending the situation at a much more mature level. She often tries to help during Addy’s meltdowns, will hold Addy’s hand to make sure she doesn’t run off, and is always an extra set of eyes for us. Alex is a great role model for Addy. Especially in the areas of listening, fine and gross motor skills as well as acceptable and appropriate behavior. She’s magical with Addy!

I am forever thankful for all my daughters but wanted to send a special shout out to Alex and Andi for really stepping up when no one asked, when I was on my last nerve, when I begged for help and when I didn’t say anything at all. If it weren’t for Alex and Andi, Addy would not be where she is today. Your love, compassion, patience and understanding for your sister is truly remarkable. I am forever grateful and so is Addy!

In closing, watching what happens when Addy is around both Alex and Andi have only strengthened my belief in inclusion. It not only has helped Addy flourish, but it has taught Alex and Andi so much more than I ever could have imagined. Remember, Inclusion starts in the home.

Much love,

Raising Addy

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