This week, schoolchildren are returning to the classroom after having been exposed to a weekend’s worth of 24/7 coverage on the shooting. Among those students will be a great many who share the same disabilities being blamed so callously for the horror our nation has just experienced. What message will the culture have sent to their classmates and teachers? Are we encouraging children and educators to view their classmates with disabilities as valued, included members of the school community? Or will our newsmedia continue to suggest that we should be viewed with suspicion and fear? As an autistic person, I desperately hope for the former – but experience has all too often taught me to expect the latter.

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