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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
That’s what I say, every time someone suggests something can’t be done. It happens a lot when you have a child with special needs.

Our daughter is 31 , and I was sick of hearing the word “can’t” by the time she was a kindergartener.

At first I tried to be nice. I listened politely, for example, to our parish priest explain to me why Noelle could not go to an hour of weekly public school religion class: Because other parishes – not ours – have classes for children like your daughter. Because our teachers don’t have special training. Because we’ve never done it before.

My comeback to him: The problem is that our family belongs to this parish. If a teacher isn’t sure what to do with Noelle, ask the child in front of, behind, or on either side of her. They go to school together all day long and they know how to include her in the lesson. Plus, I didn’t major in special education in college either, and God gave her to me anyway.

He wouldn’t budge. So I said to myself, “baloney macaroni,” not loud enough for him to hear.

I was very moved early in my daughter’s life by a story I heard at an inclusion conference.
A professor of special education told the audience of a young mother who desperately wanted her child with profound disabilities to attend elementary school. The school said no, no, and no.

So on the first day of kindergarten, Mom wheeled her little guy into the classroom, parked his wheel chair, and walked home. The phone rang later that morning with a frantic school official on the line. He explained that the fire department staged a drill that morning and determined that, in case of a fire, they could not get her son out of the building in time to meet the code. Apparently, he was a fire hazard.

Mom spent the afternoon researching and discovered that the school building was 85 years old; in 85 years, there had never been a fire there.

She returned to the school the next day to drop off her son in his classroom, armed with a signed release that read: In the event of a fire, let him burn.

Those fighting words have stayed with me ever since.

The story of that mother gave me the courage to drop off my daughter along with her slightly older brother on the first day of after-school religion class. I instructed him to hold his sister’s hand, walk her to her classroom, pick her up after class, and meet me in the very same spot in the parking lot.

I wasn’t going in. I wasn’t hearing no.

It was one of my first baloney macaroni moments. I was nervous. But it worked.
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