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by Ruth A. Wilson
May/June 2012
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/belonging/5020551/

I have two older brothers �" Jim and Robert. Jim is no longer living; he died at the age of 50. At his funeral, I had a hard time dealing with the fact that he died so young. But more painful than thinking about Jim’s short life was thinking about his quality of life. Jim had Tourette’s syndrome, but his condition was never identified or understood during his lifetime. Everyone just knew that Jim was different �" and, in almost all situations �" Jim was not accepted or included in social groups in the family, community, or school settings.

My other brother, Robert, was fun to be around. He had friends and was always doing something interesting. He went to ball games, showed animals at the fair, and went camping with his friends and their families. Jim and Robert were only two years apart in age, but the experiences they had in life were vastly different. Robert was an accepted part of various groups, while Jim was excluded and never enjoyed a sense of belonging. Jim’s exclusion was based on the fact that he was different, that he didn’t ‘fit in.’

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