Hello, inclusion loving humans! You’re in the right place. I’m Nicole, inclusive author and occupational therapist. Today, here at The Able Fables, we are bringing you another #MyAbleStory. Meet Fritz!
Q: What are Fritz’s biggest and best strengths?
A: His smile, and ability to lift any room he enters with his joyful spirit. His love and excitement for the most simplest of things or activities. His ability to communicate even though he is extremely speech delayed. He is extremely creative and loves to create and play with what others might deem trash, haha 🙂
Q: What hobbies and activities does Fritz enjoy?
A: Anything that involves playing with his big brothers. He loves to create things out of recycling. He likes to “mow the grass” with his pretend mower. He loves cruising around in his battery operated jeep & go cart. And he loves all things mickey mouse!
Q: Fritz was diagnosed with DMD. Can you share a piece of that journey with us?
A: Early on I noticed Fritz seemed to different than his 2 older brothers. He was delayed in reaching nearly every baby milestone. After asking lots of questions, and running lots of tests Fritz was Diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at just 10 months old. Duchenne is a very progressive muscle wasting disease that occurs in boys. The days/weeks/months following diagnosis were nothing short of dark and difficult. Fritz is now 4 years old, and even though Duchenne has brought much unwanted pain and fear, HE continues to bring us so much joy.
Q: What have you learned from Fritz?
A: He has made us better parents. We have so much more perspective on truly living in the moment, being grateful for the abilities we do have, and the importance of teaching inclusion. A diagnosis of Duchenne means he may have weak muscles, but this diagnosis has also taught us that strength is so much more than muscle. We have learned we can be strong when we are patient, when we are selfless, when we are kind, when we are inclusive. Duchenne has changed the way we parent, the way we view each day, and the way we define strength.
Q: What is your mission as an advocate for Fritz?
A: We desire to share our message of redefined strength with everyone we meet. We know how easy it can be to get caught up in kids physical abilities, and how good they are this or that sport. Our culture says we are strong when we win, or when we are tough, by how fast we are or how much we can lift at the gym. But we want people to know that they can be strong when they let themselves grieve hardship, when they don’t worry about winning, but worry about including others. We want Fritz to know he is strong, because strength is more than muscle.
Q: Here at The Able Fables we love inclusion! What does inclusion mean to you?
A: We believe inclusion doesn’t have to be complicated. Inclusion means Fritz has the same opportunities as other kids, even if it looks a little different. Inclusion means we get to see him smiley little face, smile more often because he gets to experience things every kid enjoys!
Q: Can you tell us an “Inclusion Story” to give readers an idea of what inclusion looks like for Fritz?
A: Fritz attends gymnastics 2 times a week simply because the teachers of his class are the most kind and creative people. They always find ways for him to be apart of the class even though he can’t necessarily do what the other kids are doing. Sometimes inclusion there might look like him being a monster on the obstacle coarse to scare the kids crossing a mat. Sometimes it means he gets to be the coach and call out jumps on the trampoline. Sometimes it means he sits on a mat and gets pushed instead of pushing the mat for team races. If you no anything about Duchenne on paper, the last place Fritz should really find success would be in a gymnastics class, however because of the power of kindness and inclusion, this class in the highlight of his entire week!