Being different is part and parcel of being a kid with cerebral palsy. But for Alex Wilson, being different has come to mean being ignored. In a photo that has gone viral on Facebook, Wilson is the boy in a wheelchair placed a full set of bleachers away from his school's choir.
Mom Arla Jan Wilson originally posted the photo to her Facebook page with the disclaimer that she doesn't like to vent. But the sad photo, so simple and yet so startling, has become a lightning rod for parents across the nation who are more than happy to vent on Alex's behalf. What happened at the multi-school choral performance at the Georgia high school was wrong. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon.
Being separated and singled out from their peers is "normal" for these "different" kids. Just last week, a 5-year-old girl in Texas with the same diagnosis as Alex -- cerebral palsy -- made national news because her school was trying to force her into a wheelchair rather than allow her to use the walker that her doctors have said can help keep her mobile and allow her to function more like her peers.
The more these kids try to show they can do things that fit the so-called norm, it seems the more they're pushed back into the box they just punched their way out of. It's a double whammy if there ever was one.
Take Alex. His mom's Facebook "rant" (I put it in quotes because it sounds more like a good mom advocating for her child!) notes that chorus is one of the activities her son can take part in. His disability doesn't hold him back from singing. That's what makes the choral director's insensitivity -- he claims it was an "oversight" that Alex was abandoned and left alone in front of the entire crowd -- that much more heartbreaking.
Kids with special needs don't "just" need support to help them along with their daily tasks. They need to be recognized as people, human beings who deserve to do the kinds of things that their peers can do too, who are just as good and just as important. These kids should not be ignored. And thanks to the photo of Alex that's spreading like wildfire today, thanks to parents who are "ranting" on the Wilson's behalf, there's a clear message to school choirs like the one in Atlanta, Georgia that abandoned him: this is not acceptable.
Will you share Alex's story today to help fight for kids like him?
Image via Facebook