Inclusion for students with significant differences has been one of the mighty education revolutions of my lifetime, with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requiring us to learn with and from our neighbors even when it takes some added effort to begin understanding one another.
For folks in Danville, Kentucky, one of the great gifts of that kind of inclusion has been getting to know Bruce Caudill. Bruce has autism, and this reporting in the Advocate-Messenger shares a bit of his story.
At 21, Bruce is just slightly younger than my middle daughter, so I've been in the "audience" for much of his life, and also in the literal audience for a number of his drum solos. On school council committees and in Sunday School curriculum discussions, I've listened as teachers tested ideas by thinking about how they would work for "a kid like Bruce." Since the Hub Coffee House where Bruce works is my favorite hangout, I'm very glad that he's now there to help handle the lunchtime rush.
Bruce has proven that he and we can get good things done together. Since the 1970's, teachers and students have been making that same discovery about differences that need not divide, and we should count that as a great good thing.