Yes, The United States is starting to reopen more fully. California recently reopened at full capacity. Life is coming back to normal for many people. However, lets make is a very inclusive new normal for all. Masks can be uncomfortable, however for some individuals who are immunocompromised, they can be a life saver and the pandemic hopefully will make them feel more comfortable as mask wearing is becoming more accepted by the public. Yes, I understand that being fully vaccinated you do not have to wear a mask, but we should still let individuals wear them if they choose, even way after the pandemic ends. Please keep your candy chutes. Candy chutes have helped make halloween more accessible for children with physical disabilities who may not be able to make it up the steps to get their candy. Yes, distance learning has been a disaster for most children as in person learning is the best option for most and children need that social interaction. However, some children thrived with distance learning. Distance learning can be especially good for children with chronic illnesses, medically fragile or have severe allergies or illnesses such as cancer or cystic fibrosis. So yes, majority of children the in-person way is the better way, but there should always be some access to distance learning for some children, especially for the reasons I mentioned above. With school being fully in-person for most in the fall, many children will be very behind from being out of the classroom for a long time. Children with special needs can have an even harder time. That is why investing in services so all children can succeed will be more crucial than ever. Children with special needs have long been marginalized years before the pandemic. Let’s change this!
Individuals with disAbilities of all ages have long been marginalized. Though the pandemic was stressful, we should look at the glass half full instead of half empty and be optimistic. There is a silver lining…. The pandemic has made some things more inclusive for the disAbility community.
So as I mentioned before, lets move forward, not backwards and create a more inclusive new normal. We should go back to normal, but lets add these new elements as well.
Originally published June 27, 2021.
Sarah Ramos is a 26 year old female activist and early childhood educator with autism who is defying the odds. Read the original article on her blog, Trailblazing Autism.
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