The Pain of Internalized Stigma

February is National Inclusive Education Month

I shared this story with the previous Education Minister and received nothing but a form email from his office assistant in response. Now I’m sharing it with all of you, and with our new Education Minister, MLA Wayne Ewasko.

By sharing this heartbreaking story, I hope to prevent other children and families from experiencing the same trauma and mistreatment in Manitoba’s public school system.

The Pain of Internalized Stigma

The day our son wished he had different parents

I wish I had different parents,” our son said one day. 

It seems we’re always the meanest, strictest parents in the world when we enforce a limit. According to our children, we’re also the only parents to ever do so, and somehow none of their friends have ever have the same rules as them — or any rules at all, if their stories are to be believed.

Except this particular story isn’t about setting limits or being considered too strict by our child. 

At the time I didn’t know much about the rights of disabled students, our provincial inclusive education act, nor appropriate educational programming legislation.

I sure do now.

I contacted everyone and their boss, then I contacted their boss’ boss, until I found people who would listen and fight for my son alongside me.

Being treated like a human being worthy of caring, belonging, kindness, and basic decency goes a long way.”

—Jillian Enright, Neurodiversity MB

We’re regularly amazed and impressed by our son. We love him, and are so proud of who he is.

Read our story in Age of Awareness.

You can also find my open letter to Manitoba’s Education Minister on my website.

When you join medium, as a member you’ll have access to unlimited reads for only $5 per month. If you use my referral link, I’ll earn a small commission, and you’ll earn my undying gratitude.

Published by Neurodiversity MB

Jillian has Child and Youth Work diploma as well as a BA in Psychology. Jillian worked on the front lines of Social Services agencies from 2003 - 2012. Jillian has taken numerous continuing education courses and has attended various workshops focused on supporting neurodiverse children, in particular children with ADHD.

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