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The Light Bulb Moment of Inclusion

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The Light Bulb Moment of Inclusion

Adiba Nelson

Even those of us who think we have inclusion down pat can still find ourselves having huge light bulb moments. 

Take for instance the instant frustration that rose up in me when I saw that my local children's museum was starting and "inclusion hour". The plan is for the museum to open an hour earlier, at a discounted rate, one Saturday a month, specifically for kids with special needs. 

My first reaction was to yell out at the top of my lungs "HOW IN THE WORLD IS THAT INCLUSION??? YOU'RE LITERALLY SEPARATING THE CHILDREN!" And then I went on this rant about how companies continue to miss the mark when it comes to inclusion, thinking that just because they set aside time for kids with special needs that THAT makes them inclusive, and blah blah blah. My husband, in his annoying (read LOVING) wisdom, reminded me that not all kids have just physical disabilities. Some kids have sensory issues or auditory issues and being in the museum at the same time all the other kids are there might be too much for them. So in this way, the museum actually IS being inclusive. 

Oh. 

Well didn't I feel foolish...

Ugh. Adiba..png

Here I am, mama of {E}, President of RocketChair Productions, screaming my face off about inclusion to anyone who will listen, and I'm being EXclusive and ableist. Insert facepalm emoji here. OF COURSE this was inclusive!  It's a children's museum and ALL children should be able to enjoy it, not just the typically developing kids. Duh, Adiba! But how many of us do this? Think of our kids first, and how OUR kids are affected? That's kind of the opposite of inclusive behavior, isn't it? It's almost like being exclusive is ingrained in us (kind of why Meet Clarabelle Blue is so important for the babies). Now, is this to say that all of my gripes with the Children's Museum are over? NO. I still long for the day when all of the exhibits can be interacted with by a child in a wheelchair or walker, or a child who has low muscle tone and therefore cannot sit on the police motorcycle unattended. Or a child with underdeveloped fine motor skills can't grasp an edge to turn a gear, so they grasp the crank handle to interact with the exhibit instead (and the list goes on and on).

However, this is a start. This is a huge start. And now that I've had my light bulb moment, I am so here for it, and can't wait to take Miss {E} for "MY TIMe" at our local Children's Museum! Do you have a children's museum in your town? Are they killing it in the game of inclusion? Tell us about them in the comments, and we'll give them a social media shout-out!