Fisherman: Hey, kid! There ain’t no room in this town for a dragon, and there ain’t no room in this town for jinxes like you, neither!
Nora: Well, if there’s enough room for a chowderhead like you, there’s more than enough room for a dragon.
This memorable scene from the movie Pete’s Dragon leads into Helen Reddy’s lovely song:
“There’s room for everyone in this world, if everyone makes some room. Won’t you move over and share this world? Back up and make some room.”
Nurturing the social thinking that underlies social skills forms a large part of the mission of most parents of children with autism. But the burden of “fitting in” shouldn’t be wholly on our kids. No one can fit in anywhere if the larger community doesn’t make room for them.
Bryce and I just came from a visit to the college where he’s enrolled for next year. The head of the Access Services department—many schools call this Disabilities Services—told us that 30% of the student body has some form of so-called disability. So the college’s byword for accommodations is “whatever it takes.” In this environment, students with so-called disabilities aren’t “special education.” They’re a valued part of a community that welcomes and revels in its diversity.
Chowderheads, join us. The wave has reached your shore. Challenge your perspective, learn, connect, grow beyond your biases. Move over and share this world. We’ll do the same for you.