Belonging In Adulthood:

Many of my blog posts have discussed inclusion recently. Inclusion was important when I was growing up. I attended public school and went to birthday parties.

I went to summer camps too. I enjoyed going to Mad Science camps, where I built a rocket and programmed robots. When I was 12, I went to a summer camp at Amherst College, where I learned how to develop an iPhone app. I loved experiencing a college campus, especially the dining hall. I ate way too many desserts that week.

As I grew up, I became more isolated. In middle and high school, I struggled to fit in. When I was a sophomore in high school, I remember the jealousy I felt when my peers received their driver’s licenses. I wanted to be just like everyone else. I was always frustrated when my peers showed off their driver’s licenses. I wanted to explain to them that not everyone can drive a car. By the time I was a senior in high school, I had given up on making friends.

After graduating from high school, inclusion didn’t seem to matter. At Westfield State University, I hoped to make new friends. Sadly, this was not the case. I had conversations with my peers but didn’t form any friendships. In college, my classmates talked about going to parties and playing sports. I didn’t want to go to a party with lots of strangers. I can’t participate in track and field or basketball. I joined the campus newspaper and enjoyed writing articles, but this was something that I did by myself.

These days I spend most of my time at my apartment with my roommate. We don’t go out much. The COVID-19 pandemic has limited our opportunities to go out. We rarely go out to eat, and I’ve been to the movie theater twice since 2020. Sometimes, a friend of ours will come to visit. Typically, when he comes over, we watch TV together or go on a walk to the local drugstore to buy candy and snacks.

In the future, I want to be able to take more trips and explore new places. This summer, I want to go to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. My friend also wants to go to The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA. I hope we can take some trips together soon.

Adults with disabilities still deserve to be included in everyday life. We don’t have to sit at home. Sadly, many adults with disabilities do feel lonely and isolated. Kids with disabilities grow up, but this shouldn’t mean they are forgotten once they leave school. People with disabilities should be able to enjoy their lives regardless of age.

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