The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
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Inclusion Works
Field Trip To The Fire Station
Field Trip To The Fire Station
Inclusion Works

This is Tasho, an amazing 7 year old boy, who happens to have Down syndrome. We have come along way from the shock of a prenatal diagnosis, 3 days later I found myself using the word included for the 1st time. I told the doctors, that there was no need to give me my options, this child will be included. Those words hold true today. Tasho is the first child in our school district to be fully included in general education classrooms at the elementary level. Tasho has been included since he started kindergarten, he is now in the second grade. Being the first is always ground breaking, not just for us, but for our entire community. It really is a situation where everyone is a winner. His peers learn that it's ok to be a little different and to learn differently, his teachers learn that children who happen to have Down syndrome can learn right next to their typical peers and Tasho learns to be a full functioning member of his society. Our IEP team works hard in making certain that inclusion works. The kids at school know who he is, and are accepting of him. During the past few years, Tasho has received academic achievement awards, and good character awards as well. It is a road less traveled but it is a road worth taking. Tasho is an inspiration to everyone, and we all stand in awe at his accomplishments and achievements. It's not always perfect, and mistakes are made at times, but that's ok, because he is paving a path for other children as well, breaking down the stigma and stereotypes that often plague our children. It is an honor to be Tasho's mom and advocate. But in the end, he is the one that has to do the work, and for this I couldn't be prouder of him. Inclusion works!

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Dawn Brunkalla, United States, OH
12/12/2011 11:20:56 AM
Way to go Tasho!

Kathy Speer, United States, OH
12/12/2011 4:37:01 PM
Great Job Nikki! You are breaking ground for many of us!

Trina Danzy, United States, OH
12/12/2011 8:23:03 PM
Great job!!

Shelley Nieder, United States, OH
2/13/2011 12:41:28 AM
Way to go Tasho and great job Nikki! He really is an amazing young man that has not only an advocate in his mom but a great example too!

Jean Frazier, United States, FL
12/13/2011 11:32:41 AM
Way to go......

Micaela Leonard, United States, OH
12/13/2011 7:33:19 PM
I have known Nikki Papolides my entire life. We grew up one house away from each other, went to the same elementary school and played a lot as children. We also took the journey into motherhood at about the same point in our lives. I have watched

Maria Avdelas, United States, OH
12/14/2011 10:36:17 AM
My son happens to be one of the "typical" students in an IEP class, and I agree, inclusion works! Thanks for being an inspiration Nikki!

Susan L Jacobs, United States, OH
12/14/2011 12:06:03 PM
way to go Tosho,and Nikki you should be very proud of Tosho and of yourself.

Andrea Manos, United States, OH
12/15/2011 5:27:15 PM

Edward Clarke, United States, OH
12/15/2011 10:26:15 PM
Tasho truely is an inspiration to everyone at Middlebranch. We are blessed to have Tasho attending our school. Nikki you should be proud of your son and yourself. Inclusion can work when given the chance.

CIndy Flory, United States, OH
12/15/2011 10:57:21 PM
This is a great example of how perserverance and a positive attitude can make a difference in the way a child learns and grows. We can be that difference. Good luck to Nikki and Tasho!

Cindy Ringer, United States, OH
12/16/2011 6:01:49 AM
Way to go!!!

Steve Monte, United States, OH
12/16/2011 7:49:42 AM
Very proud to say, I know Tasho. He will always get my Vote

Kelly Ostrout, United States, OH
12/16/2011 9:42:20 AM
He's come along way since I first met him in preschool! Congratulations Tasho!

Andrena Wallace, United States, OH
12/16/2011 10:01:10 AM
My girls go to school with Tasho and always speak so highly of him. He is such a friendly, bright and funny child. Having him "included" has helped us on a very personal level too as we recently welcomed a niece with downs into our family. Knowing Ta

Denise Martin, United States, OH
12/17/2011 12:31:11 PM
We love Tasho. Everyone has learned so much from this AMAZING child! Way to go!

Kevin Martin, United States, OH
12/17/2011 12:33:08 PM
Way to go!!!

Lynette Campton, United States, OH
12/20/2011 8:05:06 PM
Very nice article. Wonderful boy with a very supporting mother.

Ana lucero, United States, NM
8/31/2012 9:50:02 PM
I am a 4 th year 2nd grade teacher and I was looking through this website researching DS because I currently have a child with DS in my classroom. I am trying many different activities with this child because I'd like to make a difference in this child's life. I'd like to make school a wonderful and enriching for him. When I came upon Tasho's story it brought tears to my eyes to know how much his mom appreciates inclusion and what it's doing for Tasho. I hope I can do the same for the child in my classroom. Thanks for the inspiration!

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