Henry on Inclusion

a line drawing of two hands shaking by Aidan Jones

by Henry Frost

The right to inclusion is a basic civil right for all people. I am a person. I have these rights.

“I Stand WITH Henry” on Facebook and the change.org petition show how many people with disabilities and without disabilities know this.

I did not know about inclusion and advocacy before my friends Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonette. It was cool to meet guys that communicate like I do. They opened the door for hopeful times of freedom.

We went to some conferences with Larry, Tracy, Harvey and Pascal. I like being in the sea of acceptance and respect. It feels like my home. There it is my voice that is heard.

Presume competence. Parents and teachers it is hurting people if you do not. It is very hard if you do not.

My family sees my intelligence and respects my differences. I see their intelligence and respect their differences. We should all do the same for each other.

Last year I started reading about inclusion and found out about Ari Ne’eman. I read about his high school time. It was hard. He also did not like being at a segregated school.

I met Ari at the Autism Summer Institute. I wrote to him about my school and he understood. He helped me advocate for my rights. ASAN helped with the petition. He is also autistic. He is also my friend.

I did not read about a person who liked being in a separate school away from their friends learning cooking for life skills for living. Reading is living. Learning history is living.

Some parents and schools think separate is ok. If they listen to us they will understand it is not. We want to learn the same things. We are not so different.

I met many friends at ASI. Many autistic friends that advocate for equality. They stood by my side. I am proud they are my friends. I am proud to be an autistic self-advocate.

I am not finished because I can go to Wilson. I am just starting.