December 3rd marks a very important day in our house and really for the disability community. Today we celebrate International day of persons with disabilities. Each year there is a focus for the year and this year happens to be "removing barriers to create an inclusive accessible society". I will be honest, before becoming a mother to a wonderful boy who has a disability, I did not think enough about the word accessibility. Now, my world is centered around that word and what it means for Hayden. I also think about all the other children like Hayden and the adults living in our society. A friend of mine from Partner's in Policy making opened my eyes on what it means for adults with disabilities. She spoke of things like getting help at the gas pump or finding vacation spots that are accessible. Little things that I take for granted every day are not always easy to the disability community.
Much of my blog has centered around updates on my little love bugs Julia and Hayden. While I will continue to update everyone on their awesome inch stones I also would like to focus on what accessibility has meant for Hayden. Hayden is in his last year of pre school. This is bitter sweet for me. I love his teacher Amanda, all of his para's and therapists. Hayden has achieved so much in his two years of school. He is talking so well, playing cooperatively with his peers, and is even walking with the class now. Huge huge deal. Hayden uses a posterior walker for mobility, it is large and not easy to maneuver in a small classroom full of kids. I struggled for awhile hoping that Hayden was using this in his classroom 100% of the time and this year he has done just that. We were fortunate enough to gain an extra teacher and his classroom was able to be adapted to Hayden. How awesome is that? Hayden is now able to move freely in his classroom in his walker if he chooses. I love that my little boy does not have a restriction to use the one thing that lets him walk freely without barriers. We are also frequent flyers at AI Dupont Hospital for Children. My little man has rocked walking recently to his evaluations and doctors appointments. Another big deal! This is a hospital that truly understands the word accessibility. The hospital hallways are large enough for Hayden to maneuver his walker and the examination rooms are equally as large. The best part about the hospital is the accessible playground. I wish every playground was accessible for Hayden. He can crawl on the equipment and play just like every other child. It simply is amazing! Finally, I have to rave about the sports program for kids of all abilities in the town we live it. Hayden has participated in baseball and soccer. He loves them both! However, he definitely has an arm on him and eagerly waiting for baseball season. Who am I kidding he is eagerly waiting for all the high school girls that come to help him play. If anything Hayden knows how to make the ladies fall in love with him. He will make an excellent boyfriend or husband one day, when he is 30! Now, we just need to tackle educating people who see Hayden in the walker not to feel sorry for him. He truly is a happy little boy. Once you look past his walker you will see just how amazing my little man is.
Finally, I will close this post with a huge thank you. Thank you for continuing to read my blog. Thank you for your continued interested in my children. They truly are a blessing and hope that they will help just one person or family understand that different is not a bad thing. Different is beautiful, different is amazing, and different is okay!