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Messages are everywhere. Some are blatant; some, not so obvious. Consider the messages sent and received throughout this hypothetical scenario.

In the heart of the American Corn Belt, a small-town high school physical education class plays wiffle ball. Of the 34 students, 3 have moderate to severe disabilities. Will is nearly blind, Chris has Down syndrome, and Anthony has autism. These three young men have a paraprofessional with them in class. Various methods of choosing teams in PE is a story for another day. On this particular day, the coach tells the students that he wants 8 boys and 7 girls on each side of the gym. The numbers do not add up correctly because there are more students in the class than that.

During this game of wiffle ball, Will and Chris are on the team which is up to bat first. Anthony’s team is in the field. Play begins, three outs come quickly, and the teams switch. The inning is soon completed and teams are back where they began. All players have had turns at bat with three exceptions - Will, Chris, and Anthony.

Suddenly, the coach hollers, “Hold up! Get Will in there. Let him bat.” Will eventually hits the ball, with none of his many strikes counted against him, and runs to first base. Chris follows Will. Chris also hits the ball, with none of his strikes counted, and runs the bases. Will and Chris eventually cross home plate behind others who batted after them but passed them while running the bases.

After three outs, teams change sides again. Anthony's team is now up to bat. All players on the team take turns to bat -- except Anthony. By the end of the period, all students had several opportunities to bat -- except Will, Chris, and Anthony. Will and Chris each batted once, and Anthony did not bat at all.

What messages were received by the students? How do Will, Chris, and Anthony feel?

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