Creating a more inclusive world is everyone's job.
Some of us chose to do it, some of us didn't, and others need persuading that they should.
For those who chose to make inclusivity a priority they've brought on themselves a difficult task.
They don't necessarily have the personal experience to draw upon, which can make their arguments less emotionally appealing.
On the other hand, those of us with a special needs family member can be overwhelmed by our emotional ties, often making others feel uncomfortable when we talk about issues on the subject.
And without an intentional choice to learn about special needs nor a personal connection to them, it can be challenging to be on the receiving end of an education on the issues.
None of us has an easy time learning how to advocate. But we can get better at it.
As a special needs professional, such as a therapist or special ed teacher, you can use your knowledge to educate parents of other students or speak directly to children about the physical differences of people.
Your expertise can be very helpful to those outside of the special needs community, especially when you prioritize acceptance of physical differences and the value of every person, no matter what they can or can't do.
As a special needs parent or caregiver, your experience is your strength.
Tell stories, of every kind: Stories of struggle. Stories of plateaus or goals met. Stories of pure joy. Stories of the mundane. Tell them all.
If we share more of our world with the world at large they will see that we are an important part of it and that we're not going anywhere.
If you are in the third group, those who need pure education about inclusivity and the special needs community, please be patient and try to listen.
Just as you desire to be acknowledged and accepted, so do we.
Above all else, do not pity us.
We do not see our belonging to this community as a burden, we view it as a gift.
You don't have to understand that, but we appreciate when you hear us say it.