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Aaron and his swim support team

Going to the family reunion, or not?

Part 1 of 3

My cousin Terri rented her local swim club and invited all 26 cousins and their families for a family reunion. She is working hard to keep our large family together and give our children and grandchildren some of the same fun family times we had when we were growing up. Cousin Terri is offering a gift to our family.

So, will we go, or not?

Even though our oldest son Aaron has the label of autism and developmental disabilities, we try to include him in all our family activities. …

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An INCLUSIVE SCHOOL is a school for everyone. It is a paradigm shift from the traditional school. It teaches interdependence by using a differentiated curriculum, multiple intelligences, and cooperative learning. For people with more severe disabilities, the curriculum is taught in the natural environment where the skills will be used. I thought a revision of The Animal School by George Reavis might explain it all. Like my husband, George Reavis taught in Cincinnati Public Schools. The original The Animal School was published around 1940 in The Public School Bulletin long before inclusion was even a dream — or was it?

THE ANIMAL SCHOOL: Before Inclusion

Once upon a time the animals got together and decided to start a school.

The parents and teachers wanted to make everything FAIR, so they decided ALL the animals would take ALL the subjects. No exceptions.

The curriculum consisted of classes in swimming, running, flying and climbing. Each student would need a grade of C to pass. There would be a competition to see who could get the best grades.


Doug the duck was excellent in swimming, in fact, better than his instructor. But Doug made only passing grades in flying and was getting Fs in running and climbing.

At a team meeting, it was decided he needed to drop swimming and take remedial classes to practice running. …

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My two sons, Aaron, Tommy, and their Cross Country Team**

June 6, 1990

Principal, Hopewell Junior School
Lakota School District
West Chester, Ohio

Dear Dr. Taylor,

This year Tommy and some of his friends joined the cross country team.

Recently my nephew, Robert, (not real name) started laughing hysterically when I mentioned his cousin Aaron also going to be on the school cross country team. “What’s Aaron going to do? Bite and push all the kids at the starting line so he can win?”

I was deeply hurt but tried to explain it wasn’t all about the winning, but rather, the trying that was important.

Robert was shocked! “But why would you even try if you knew you couldn’t win?” …

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Happy Father’s Day Dad!

“Superstar Dads”| Changing the World

Anyone can be a Father, but only someone special can be a Dad. (anon.)

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” (Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land, 1961.)

What is a Father’s “unconditional love”? Many people have trouble explaining “unconditional love” and “fathers.”

I remember one Hallmark commercial where an older dad said he really only understood a father’s love when he saw his son holding his new baby–his grandchild.

Each moment we watch our youngest son, Tommy, be a father to his daughters makes our hearts burst with love and pride. …


Mary Ulrich

I’m a mom, grandma, teacher, advocate for people w/severe intellectual disabilities and part of It’s Your Turn community. Our whole family lives in Concord, NC.

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