Another Student With Special Needs Left Out Of The Class Photo
Look closely at this photo of the 2014 graduates of Nederland High School in Texas. Can you tell what’s wrong? Hint: See the teen on the right, in the wheelchair. His name is Brannon, and he is completely isolated from his classmates sitting on the bleachers. “Can anyone guess what I would be upset about?” wrote Brannon’s mom, Pam Hendrix McWilliams, on her Facebook page. “Could it be that my son is way off to the side, trying to lean in to be part of the group?….Was my son just an afterthought in the pic?” She posted the photo, she said, “mainly as a teaching lesson to consider the person that is a wheelchair user and don’t push them off to the side. Get creative and include.”
Brannon his spina bifida. It’s actually Spina Bifida Awareness Month, ironically enough. If this story rings a bell, that’s because a similar one made news last spring when a class photo with second grader Miles Ambridge, who has spinal muscular atrophy, made the social media rounds. All of his classmates were seated on a bench or standing behind it; Miles was a good foot to the left of the bench, alone in his wheelchair and leaning as far as he could toward his classmates. It was heartbreaking (his parents never showed him the photo), and the reaction online prompted Lifetouch Photography to do a retake. That child’s mom also blamed lack of awareness.
Brannon, wrote his sister Kammie on Facebook, “was SO excited to take this picture. Please help us stand up for him!” His mom added, “This draws the line. I feel like Brannon has been discounted as a Senior of 2014 as well as a human being. Brannon would never say anything because he is the ultimate peacemaker, but I sure will…. My heart breaks every time I look at it.
Photos like this are a reminder of just how a little—we’re talking speck size—common sense and consideration can help kids and teens with special needs be included, whether in a group photo, group activity or group whatever. It doesn’t take much; people just have to start thinking about it—and seeing the possibilities.
To anyone who says this is just a photo, a panoramic shot, and that this mom shouldn’t take it to heart, here’s Pam’s response: “Let’s sit your child to she side and see how it feels.”
Retaking a photo like this wouldn’t be half of as big a deal as how this teen might feel looking at this photo for the rest of his life.
Retake the photo, people.Add a Comment
Tags: school, school education, Special needs, Spina bifida | Categories: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Children With Special Needs, Disability, Down Syndrome, Must Read, SPD, Special Needs, Special Needs Parenting, To The Max