By Alie Kriofske Mainella, Youth Leadership Specialist
Well, it’s springtime, which means for many people that Easter is right around the corner. And one thing that Easter calls to mind for me is the lovely tradition of the egg hunt. Recently, I was participating in an egg hunt with several small children. The leaders of the egg hunt called all the children together and told them that the Easter Bunny had hidden enough eggs for each of them to find 11. The leaders said that each child should hunt until they found 11 eggs and then stop. This way, each child would get the same amount of eggs and it would be fair.
Some of the children got their 11 eggs and cheerfully cried out, “I found all mine!” and made their way to the party, sitting and halving the plastic shells to find the chocolate and jelly beans inside. Some of the children cried in frustration, “I’ll never get all 11! The other kids are finding them all!” And then their parents would point out eggs for them or the other children who were finished would helpfully call out, “There’s one!” and point at the pink and blue eggs peeking out of the snow. Some children dismissed the 11-egg rule entirely, filling their baskets to overflowing. I even heard one child yell, “I won!”
Watching all this made me start to think: Is this a microcosm of society? Is it fair to divide the eggs evenly among all the children? Is it fair for the strongest, fastest or most determined children to get as many eggs as their hearts desire? But what about the two-year-old who can’t move that fast? What about the two children with physical disabilities who had to take more time to bend down and gather eggs from their hiding spots. What if there was a child who was blind who couldn’t see the eggs? Or a child using a wheelchair who couldn’t reach for the eggs as easily or as quickly?
One parent suggested setting aside eggs for those who had more trouble getting them for themselves. But, as I asserted, setting aside 11 eggs for that child is not even letting them participate in the hunt. And I know this: we ALL want to participate in the hunt.
Maybe the egg hunt is a microcosm of society, maybe it’s not. But people with disabilities do not want their eggs set aside for them. We want to participate fully in the egg hunt, or society—whatever the case may be. We want accommodations and modifications that ensure that we all have equal and full access to the egg hunt. And the job market. And our lives and places in society.
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