Masks - by Patrick Mackan

There is a temptation for teachers and
other professionals to judge people in
terms of their behavior and outward
appearance. It is all too seldom that
we see through the apparent and
visible which mask the person who
has been wounded by rejection and
segregation. We fail to realize that
much of behavior and acting out is not
inherent to disability but is learned as
a response to being not truly loved
and accepted as a person. Masks are
worn only as long as they are needed.
Only genuine acceptance and sense of
belonging will lure the rejected and
supposedly inferior person out from
behind the mask. Often we do not
hear the cry in pain and the need to be
loved. Most behaviors of persons
with disabilities are defensive
protection from further hurt and from
the pain of rejection. For integration
to really work, we must see through
the disability to the person
Concentrating on the handicap will
only reinforce exclusion and self-
containment. There is a lonely void in
the lives of persons with disabilities
that can only be filled with
acceptance, welcoming and
belonging. In schools with inclusive
communities, we focus on the premise
that each belongs in that living reality
and we discover the truth of the
dignity of each person.

Reflections of Inclusive Education
by Patrick Mackan


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