Saturday, 19 May 2012
As parents of children with autism, we want our children to have the same kind of enriching experiences in life as do typically developing children. The best way to ensure a rich childhood, full of opportunities, is to integrate our children with typically developing children.
Unfortunately, there are often barriers created by a variety of people, particularly a small percentage of parents of typically developing children. These parents see no benefit for their children to be integrated with children who are challenged with special needs. This is particularly true when it comes to the integration of children afflicted with autism. Let’s face it: our children are not always reinforcing for others and they often behave in ways that completely ignore social norms. This can create discomfort for some.
However, what many parents of typically developing children do not understand is the tremendous value of successful integration of the disabled for their typically developing children.
So what is the value of successful integration for typically developing kids? Here is a partial list.
Typically developing children:
- learn not to prejudge the ability of others
- learn how to break down skills and teach them to others, thereby becoming excellent teachers
- are exposed to exceptionally positive role models in the form of therapists, psychologists and tutors
- receive much more positive adult attention than they otherwise would in a large group of children, since successful integration requires the adult/child ratio to be greater
- learn to feel very good about themselves and their ability to lead
- are forced to look beyond their egocentric world and see that there are others in the world with real challenges, who are far less fortunate only because they drew the short straw in life’s lottery
- become very comfortable with people who are disabled
- learn empathy
- are protected from bullying due to the increased adult supervision that surrounds children with autism
- are provided more enriching opportunities due to the adults who often orchestrate and/or design rich social interactions
- are exposed to potential career opportunities and lucrative job prospects
- have a great experience to put on their resume when applying to college
That’s a long list of very valuable benefits to integration; however, the most important benefit for typically developing children when they are properly integrated and interacting with children who suffer from autism, is that they learn to become decent human beings. I think most would agree we can use more of that in our society.
Many parents send their children to faith-based organizations to learn how to be a person with good values. Just add a child with autism to the mix, and the learning process is greatly accelerated.Read original post
Click smiley or type html to insert…