Henry Frost is 13-year-old autistic boy who wants to go to his neighborhood school. He says:
Today I read about Martin Luther King.
The worksheet said because of Dr King’s work, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave equal rights to all people.
I am a person.
I want these rights.
I want to go to school in my neighborhood.
Why can’t I?
Amy Sequenzia says:
Some parents prefer that their special-needs child be included; some parents are more comfortable with a special-needs class. I think much depends on where the schools are and on the services available. I believe inclusion should always be the goal. If not possible from the beginning, it should happen at a later grade.
But when a child, a young teenager, asks to be included, when he promises to work harder than anyone; when he is supported by family and friends in his studies; when he shows critical thinking and understanding of his rights, he should not only be accepted by the school he chooses, he should be invited to join the school.
What Henry is doing is advocating for his rights, at the same time that he reminds us of our own rights and about how far we still have to go.