A place to show my love for my granddaughter who lives with Cerebral Palsy and my passion for painting. In an effort of raising awareness for C.P. every painting brush stroke I make on raw canvas is a stroke of love, as I discretely paint a green C.P. awareness ribbon in every piece. Can you find them?
Do you know someone who would like to have a painting done? email www.harrold.janet@gmail.com

Monday, January 9, 2012

"Inclusion Infusion"

Inclusion infusion, that is what comes to my mind when I see this ad. The buzz around the special needs blogosphere is that Nordstroms and Target have really hit a bulls eye with their ads featuring this handsome young man Ryan. Ryan (who just so happens to have Down Syndrome) is included in both of these ads.
Often times our society excludes children with disabilities, too many times they are separated, stared at and picked on. It does my heart good to see these retail giants support and include Ryan. After all...he is adorable, just as cute as any of the other children in the ad. I shamely admit, that before Hailey was born, I had no idea that the special needs community is as large as it is, I not only had no idea, I never took the time to find out, or to care. It wasn’t my issue, After all, I was too busy, and it didn’t concern me. SHAME ON ME! But the reason I had no idea, is that I was never taught or educated about how or why people with disabilities were born, or how they should be treated. When I went to school the children with disabilities were in a separate classroom, away from everyone else, they did not participate in recess as we did, they didn’t have lunch when we had lunch, they took a different bus than we took to school. I thought they were someone to fear! After all, alot of the children in the special ed class couldn’t speak and they sometimes made loud noises and that scared me. I thought, they were behind closed doors for a reason, and I should be afraid of them. SHAME ON THE SCHOOL SYSTEM! But now that I am grown up and I have a beautiful granddaughter with Athetoid Cerebral Palsy. I know that people with disabilities are just beautiful members of this society just as you and I. They deserve respect, love, patience, understanding, acceptance and they deserve to be included in everything that you would want to be included in. I believe that if we see more often in the media children who have special needs (such as an ad with a child in a wheelchair, or leg braces, maybe someone with a therapy dog, or a child with a walker) If it becomes more commonly viewed, then it will become more accepted or more “the norm” and others will understand that people with disabilities are not people to be pitied but accepted, respect and included. As a granddmother who supports and loves her grandchild just as anyone else supports and loves their grandchildren, I have made several small attempts to try and make inclusion a priority. A few recent attempts that I have done to raise awareness. Some have been successful, others, not so much. But with these two retail stores putting there best efforts forward, I will continue to try and maybe, just maybe one of my efforts will catch on. One small effort that I make to raise awareness is this blog, it is a pretty well read blog, so I have to say that this effort has been successful. Another successful effort for raising awareness for C.P. is hiding a green Cerebral Palsy Awareness ribbon in my paintings, this has been sort of successful, I have many people who view my work as about it, and this gives me a chance to explain. Another successful feat was this years “Christmas Card Project” It was my hope to design a Christmas card that featured a child in a wheelchair opening up a present and enjoying Christmas just as any child enjoys the act of opening up a present.
These cards were sent and received by so many people across the world, thanks to the Cox family for allowing me to paint their handsome boy Carter and for sending these cards to soo many people. This idea came to me after writing a letter to “Blue Mountain” greeting card company and a couple of other companies suggesting they come out with a line that featured cards appropriate for and featuring the special needs community, this effort was rejected and makes me want to start my own line. I really want to do this and have been working on it, but I don’t have the necessary resources. Another effort that was rejected was my letter to Susan Lordi (Willow Tree Figurines) You have all heard of or seen these beautiful figurines. They claim to have a figurine for everyone or just about any occasion. I beg to differ, I love these figurines, I love the art, sculpture and the painting so much of these beautiful simple works of art that I contacted the owner and asked them to sculpt a child in a wheelchair, or in leg braces etc. They sent me a nice response but were unwilling to fill my request. This is an example of one of their figures, depicting a perfect family,
however it doesn’t look like my family. I would love for Hailey to see things that she can relate to. Not that she can’t relate to every other little girl that loves to play with dolls and watch cartoons, but it would be great to see a large company support everyone, just as Nordstroms and Target are doing. They are saying that our kids are just as adorable as other kids and they are treating our kids as equals and that goes along way with me! A big thank you to Target and to Nordstroms for the support!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent points! I do approve of the Target and Nordstrom ads. Maybe we all need to send them an email and tell them that we are going to patronize their companies because of the ads. (I don't normally patronize Nordstrom, but I bet I can find something I can afford!)

    I was a high school teacher before retiring five years ago, and our special students were very much integrated into the student body. Most of the students knew their names and would say hello to them as they cruised around the school. They went to pep rallies, sporting contests and other school events. It's true that we have improved the way we handle special children in our schools, but we still have lots of work to do!