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Last Updated: 10/31/2017
 

 Article of Interest - Inclusion & Inspiration

Troy Daniels' Speech: Inclusion is Not a Place, It is a Feeling

by Troy Daniels, Senior, Class of 2002

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Introduction by Kim and Troy Daniels
 
On June 15th 2002 my son Troy Daniels graduated from Northfield High School. We have traveled a long and difficult road to get there but he has worked harder than anyone else, endured more than any of us, taught more than anyone, and had more fun doing it than I did that is for sure!!!
 
Each member of his graduating class was required to write a senior speech. Troy worked for 2 months on his. He used his computer, with software, which allowed him to scan for words and also used pictures to find words he may want to use. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to watch, he knew what he wanted to say and he would not stop until he had captured the exact words. After writing his speech he than spent hours typing it into the device he uses to speak (Libby) because people cannot understand his voice.
 
He than had to stand before his class and deliver the speech. When it was over, I am told ( parents were not allowed to attend) that there was silence in the room. Troy's lip started to tremble. He was sure that all of his classmates thought what he had said was dumb. He was wrong, his classmates were themselves moved to tears boys and girl alike. When the applause finally started it was like thunder and it went on and on.
 
This is why in Northfield Vermont, one of speakers at graduation for the class of 2002 was a young man who had Down's syndrome, who uses a wheel chair and does not use his voice to communicate. That boy is my son, Troy Daniels. He has asked that I share this story and his speech with others who work toward a day when all people will be part of one community.
 
We hope that you enjoy the speech and that in some small way it will help you to keep doing the work you are doing.
 
Troy and Kim Daniels
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Troy Daniels & FriendTroy Daniels' Senior Speech, Monday, May 13, 2002
 
Inclusion is Not a Place, It is a Feeling

 
My name is Troy Daniels, but my friends call my TD. I have Down's syndrome. Because my heart is bad I use a wheel chair, I do not speak very good and sometimes I use Libby.
 
I am a person with disabilities and when I say "my friends" I mean friends, real friends just like everyone else, I have friends. Most of you think all people have friends but for people with disabilities friends are not always real. I want you to know why I have friends.
 
Not to long ago people with disabilities could not go to school with other kids, they had to go to "special schools". They could not have real friends; they call people like me "retard". That breaks my heart.
 
When I came to school there is law that says all kids go to school in the place they live. I started school right here in Northfield with all of senior class, we were little kids together. The law says that I can come to school but no law can make me have friends.
 
But than some kids started to think that I was ok, first it was just one or two kids who were nice to me. They found out that I cared about them and I loved my school. I told them I want to have real friends. Others started to hang out with me and they found out we could be friends. We started to learn together that in some ways we were different but in some ways we were the same. They called me friend and made sure that I was in everything at school. I cared about them and they cared about me.
 
I want all people to know and to see that these students I call my friends, are the real teachers of life. They are showing you how it should be. They are the teachers for all of you to follow their lead.
 
Yes, I am person with disability.  The law says that I am included but it is my friends who say…"TD come sit by me".

 

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