I SEE YOU.
I see you is an African greeting that is more than a hello. It is the soul saying to another that I am taking the time to pause and really see your eyes as the soul’s window and allowing the two souls to communicate. I See YOU. Whenever I think about inclusion and even in treatment I find myself saying this to children. I see them and all of who they are and I honor them. I am honored to be the vessel used to treat you. I SEE YOU.
I recently went on what my family calls our East Coast voyage. New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts. I love the east coast and here ONE reason I do. INCLUSION! I currently live in Michigan and I will testify that we are behind…way behind when it comes to treatment, people with disabilities in the community, vocational planning (beyond laundry services) and connecting to college for people with autism.
While in Connecticut, we took my son to the Stepping Stones Museum in Norwalk. We are waiting for music class to start and three people walk in alongside the instructor. One I readily recognized as a former student with autism. She is now in her early 20s and clearly was working. Next to her was the job coach-ABA Therapist and a high school peer model. I smiled because I remembered her in the sixth grade telling me off in social groups and now she is working and getting proper instruction. Her ABA Therapist was great…no hand holding, no coddling, no pushing beyond limits. There was a specific job skill set that needed to be developed. Assistant in Children’s Activities-Music Class.
Within the same class, a teen with multiple physical and visual impairments enters to enjoy the music and movement with her physical therapist.
I was in heaven! Why? Because treatment generalized benefits everyone. More than that, beyond 1:1 or small group therapy, we need more community job shadowing. Real job shadowing and vocational mapping that includes coaching from physical therapy, ABA Therapy, Speech and Occupational Therapy.
For me, inclusion is the necessary for everyone. It is bridging what we as therapists do in isolated skill tasks and providing our clients with the opportunity to have success in the world. Inclusion makes everyone aware that the other exists.
My son, of course, walks up to the person with physical impairments and begins helping her hit her drum and dancing for the both of them.
The experience of this for them both was immense.
It was the I SEE YOU moment that we all yearn for.
Let’s SEE each other.
~Landria Green, MA., CCC-SLP