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Mom pens heartfelt letter on disability awareness to parents as her blind son starts middle school

The mom-of-three penned a sweet, open letter to parents ahead of her blind son Ashton's entry into middle school.

Mom pens heartfelt letter on disability awareness to parents as her blind son starts middle school
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @ourblindside

The first days of school are hard for any student but it can be particularly daunting for children with disabilities. A mom of a blind boy decided to write an open letter to parents ahead of her son Ashton's entry into middle school. Ashton was born with septo-optic dysplasia and is living without sight. Hilda Dunford who is mom to Ashton as well as two other children penned a sweet, thoughtful note to parents about her blind son to educate them about how they can speak to their kids to ensure that they in turn accept and include differently-abled peers.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Hilda Dunford (@ourblindside)


 

Sharing a video of her middle schooler confidently walking the hallways of his new school with his cane, she wrote on Instagram, "Talk to your kids about students like my son who need a white cane to get around each class. Talk to your kids about students who may look or act different than the rest of the kids in middle school." Dunford reminds other parents to make sure their kids treat others with kindness and respect.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Hilda Dunford (@ourblindside)


 

"Teach them not only to be kind but also look past differences this year and make a new friend like my son," she added. The mom acknowledges that middle school is a hard transition but all she wants for her boy "is to feel included and to know he belongs with his peers and the rest of the students in the school." She recalled how difficult it was for her child being the only blind student in elementary school "and I know it’s going to be even harder in middle school for my son. So please talk to your kids and tell them about children with disabilities this year. Tell them about my son who practiced walking around the school all summer just to prepare for his first day."


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Hilda Dunford (@ourblindside)


 

All Dunford wants is for her son to be happy and meet people who will appreciate him for who he is. "I hope Ashton will come back home smiling and excited after his first day of middle school because he made a friend. Inclusion starts at home and parents should talk to their kids about these things before sending them to school every year. It will make a difference for my son if you have these kinds of talks with your kids," she explained.

Fellow parents of children with disabilities shared their own stories and offered other tips in the comments section. @lauraklein920 wrote, "My son is special needs and in a special needs classroom. One of his classmates is blind and he helps her all the time. No one even told him to help her or said she needed help, he just does it. I will always teach my baby to love your baby and help anyone who needs it."


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Hilda Dunford (@ourblindside)


 

@nicktheg33k added, "Great tips. I think I’d add that if they want to help, to offer but respect the answer. Never take someone by the hand without permission. Usually, it’s less offensive when offering to let them take your elbow or forearm. Similarly when a student (or anyone) is a wheelchair user, never grab the chair and start pushing without permission. That would be like picking another person up and carrying them. It’s frustrating and humiliating. Wanting to help is great but talk to disabled people to see if they need help and what the best way to help them personally in that moment is." Ashton's story is a reminder that inclusivity among students is not just about the students but it's also important to have parents be part of the discussion.


 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Hilda Dunford (@ourblindside)


 

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