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Every Child is Precious and Deserves a Wonderful Childhood!

Thank you, Kathie, for sharing your insights, experiences and knowledge. I came away from your presentation with a renewed understanding of our beautiful children. As the new Director of the WarmLine Family Resource Center, it is very important for me to convey to families the importance of letting go of the disability label and to rejoice in the perfection of our children. My daughter has always been my hero and mentor, but I have a new respect for her after your presentation. Kelly Young

A successful childhood lays a strong foundation for a successful adult life. The presence of a disability does not have to be a barrier to achieving that successful life! Parents, teachers, and others have enormous opportunities—and responsibilities—to foster happy and successful childhoods for ALL children, including those who happen to have disabilities. We hold the lives of children in our hands and they're counting on us, so we must not let them down! The articles in this section detail some of the avenues we can take, including:

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  • inclusive education
  • alternatives to traditional therapies and services
  • strategies to ensure children enjoy a wonderful and ordinary (not "special") childhood
  • listening to and respecting the child's feelings, hopes, dreams, and desires

Listen to this radio interview as Kathie talks about the importance of language, inclusive education, and other topics in an "Inclusive Classroom" program.


Explore the articles below . . .

And check out the Your Stories section for valuable real-life experiences!

Looking for a specific article?
Click here to go to the Explore/Home page;
midway down the page you'll find an alphabetical listing of all articles.

Enjoy these new ways of thinking!

 

Activity-Based Goals = Success
Many “special ed” goals may be inappropriate, meaningless, and irrelevant. (Ditto the goals written for adults.) So is it any wonder when the goals are not achieved? Activity-based goals are the solution!

After Formal Assessments: Do Not Pass Go!
Ever wonder why so many children with disabilities in public school are perceived as "failures"? Formal assessments are often the culprit. There are alternatives to the tyranny of testing against the "norm."

Altered Parenting
Parents may change their parenting style when their child is diagnosed with a developmental disability. "Altered parenting" leads to the child having an "altered childhood." Let's regain our common sense and eliminate this practice!

Annie in Disabilityland
What might it feel like to be a child on the receiving end of the special ed process? Annie's story can help us understand.

Are NCLB and IDEA in Conflict?
What happens when two federal laws regarding children with disabilities are in conflict? A mess! And what can be done about it? There are many things for parents to consider...

Children who are treated as if they are uneducable almost invariably become uneducable. Kenneth B. Clark

Beyond High School: College and More
Yes, yes, yes!!! The dream of college, trade school, and/or employment for young adults with disabilities can become the reality! And it's never too early or never too late to move in this direction.

Consequences of Segregation
Segregating children and/or adults with disabilities in "special" places doesn't only have negative consequences on those who are segregated, it also exerts a negative influence on society-at-large.

Curriculum Modifications in the IEP
IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) states: “A child with a disability is not removed from education in age-appropriate regular classes solely because of needed modifications in the general curriculum.” Learn more in this introductory article.

Curriculum Modifications 101
Creating appropriate curriculum modifications, per special ed law, is a crucial component of a student’s education. It’s not rocket science, and this article will get your creative juices flowing!

CM 102 - Computers: Opening Doors to Learning
As a tool, computers can open the doors to learning and support the inclusion of students with disabilities in general ed classrooms.

CM 103 - Making History, Civics, and Social Studies Come Alive!
There are lots of ways students can learn and enjoy these subjects when we put on our thinking caps! We can turn these "heavyweights" into real-life learning experiences.

NoteAna 
This is one of many notes given to Emma, age 8, by her classmates in the general ed classroom. Emma has a disability, but that's irrelevant to her friends! Teresa, Emma's mother, reports: "On an almost daily basis Emma comes home with notes in her backpack from a variety of her classmates. Some ask to come to our home to play, others say 'Emma-BFF,'  and some say 'I love Emma.' This note from Ana was especially awesome since it provided a way for Emma, who is learning to use a Dynavox to speak, to respond to Ana's request via the note. I also loved that Ana presumed competence in regards to Emma's ability to read and respond."
Inclusive education works!

CM 104 - I Love Math!
Can a student with a disability go from hating math to loving it? It's possible when the appropriate curriculum modifications are in place, and it's not as hard as you think!

CM 105 - Let's Read!
There are many strategies to help students with reading. And while reading is an important skill, we shouldn't assume that a child can't learn just because he's not yet reading!

CM 106 - Writing: By Hand or Otherwise
Learning to write doesn't have to be a tortuous terror for children with disabilities. With the right tools and accommodations, students can write their way and succeed!

CM 107 - Ordinary Tools Can Yield Extraordinary Results
Hi-tech devices are often great solutions in the successful education of students with disabilities. But ordinary and low-tech tools can also be helpful in creating great curriculum modifications.

Dear Teachers and IEP Team Members
If you’re a special ed director, principal, general or special ed teacher, school psychologist, therapist of any kind, or serve in any other professional capacity on an IEP (Individualized Education Program) Team, this is for you.

Diploma or Certificate?
Many students who receive special ed services will not receive a traditional diploma. What's the situation in your school district, and what alternatives should we explore?

Disability is Natural!
Yes, disability is a natural part of life, just like gender, ethnicity, and other traits. When parents embrace a new way of thinking, their children can live the lives of their dreams! (Click here for the Spanish version.)

Early Diagnosis: Boon or Bane?
Many believe that "early diagnosis" is the best course of action. But there can be unintended negative consequences for the child and family. Do we need to rush to judgment?

Evolution of Amy
Amy is a college student who first learned one way of thinking, then learned a different way. She evolved during the process, and the lessons she shares are moving, powerful, and a cause for great hope!

Fatherhood Without Fear
What child doesn't adore being with dad? But raising a child with a disability can be an unsettling experience for some men. It's time to embrace fatherhood without fear!

From "Doing" to "Being" - A New Therapeutic Paradigm
Amazing therapists at the University of Oklahoma are making history and creating positive changes. Here's one quote from this powerful interview: "Traditionally, we've focused on a hands-on approach to get a person ‘doing.' But we feel it's more helpful to use a person's hopes and dreams and focus on a person ‘becoming' and ‘being.' What could be more important than that?"

Go Beyond Goals: Think Outcomes!
We write goals galore, because the government says we must. A goal is what we hope will happen; but an outcome is what really happens. Let's go beyond goals, and think about outcomes!

Goals: Meaningful and Relevant or Garbage?
Goals, goals, goals—we're fanatics about goals! But are we writing goals that are relevant and meaningful to the child (or adult) with a disability? Whose goals are they, anyway? Expand your thinking about goals with the suggestions in this article.

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I.D.E.A. — The Law vs. Reality
Many parents discover a huge disconnect between Special Ed law and what a school district actually does. How can we remedy this disconnect? What roles do educators and parents play in the process?

Inclusion: What is Inclusion? What's Not?
What is inclusion and why is it important? How many places/activities are described as "inclusive" but really aren't, and why does it matter?

Inclusive Education: A Primer
What does an inclusive school really look like and how can a school move toward inclusive practices? Learn how one school made it happen!

Inclusive Education: A Principal's Perspective
This interview with a principal of an inclusive school details the nuts and bolts of creating an inclusive, caring school, and answers questions about costs, the use of paraprofessionals, teachers' roles, and much, much more. A must-read for educators and parents!

Inclusive Education (Testimonial)
A special ed teacher writes, "...we had the first of many IEP staffings for Benjamin, a kindergartner. It resembled a Summit Meeting that required months of planning in order to assemble all of the Great Powers from both the Private and Public Sectors." You'll be enlightened by this testimonial!

Inclusive Education (What's So Special About Special Education?)
The idea of inclusive education is not new, but we haven't listened to the wisdom of the ages. What will it take to get our attitudes right about this? (More inclusive ed articles are below.)

Is Our Nation Serious About Educating Students with Disabilities?
Many parents are thankful for special education law. But is it all it’s cracked up to be, when compared to other civil rights legislation?

Mainstreaming, Integration, Inclusion: Is There a Difference?
Different words have been used to describe people with disabilities being "in," or "part of" ordinary environments, and these words are often used interchangeably. But do they mean the same thing? Let's examine the issue and explore what difference it makes...

New and Improved IEP Meetings
The words, “IEP meeting,” (or any other kind of “I” meeting) can generate apprehension, dread, and a variety of other emotions. But the strategies in this article can lead to better meetings and better outcomes!

New and Improved Therapeutic Landscape
Emerging practices are changing the landscape of traditional physical, occupational, speech, and other "developmental" therapies. In pockets here and there, children and adults with developmental disabilities are no longer seen as "broken" or in need of a "cure."

No Child (or Adult) Needs an Aide
A teacher or a classroom might need an aide, but no child (or adult) needs an aide. There are many negative consequences to "one-on-one aides," and there are also many ways to provide assistance to a child or adult with a disability. Both issues are explored in this article.

No More Sacrificial Lambs
Parents may go to great lengths to ensure their children's schools follow special ed law. But in the process, children may become sacrificial lambs. It's time to listen to our hearts...

Reflections on Early Intervention Services
Early Intervention services are the "beginning" for many families. The "wish list" in this article suggests improvements that can lead to better outcomes for very young children and their families. (Click here for the Spanish version.)

Relevant and Meaningful
The title says it all! Everything done with, for, or on behalf of a person with a disability needs to be relevant and meaningful to that person!

Self-Advocacy: It's Never Too Early!
Read this and rejoice! Meet children with disabilities who proudly speak up for themselves, and educate others in the process. With their parents' support, these young people found their voices early!

"Set-Up" for Grief
Parents are expected to "grieve" in response to a disability diagnosis in a child. But this is a set-up, and we can choose not to be taken in by this nonsense!

Sibshops: A Sensible Solution?
Sibshops are embraced as a solution for the "problems of siblings" of children with disabilities. But a closer look reveals unintended and harmful consequences that may affect all the children in a family.

Special Ed Preschools: Help or Hindrance?
Conventional wisdom dictates placing young children with disabilities in special ed preschools. But are there unintended negative consequences we haven't explored, and don't young children deserve inclusion, instead of segregation?

Summer Vacation: Time for Fun and Time to Plan
Inclusion in community activities over the summer can enable children with disabilities to have fun and make new friends, and it can also pave the way for inclusion in school. Let's go for it!

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Tale of Two Students
Two students with disabilities; two different paths. One is on his way to college and the life of his dreams in the Real World; the other remains stuck and segregated in Disability World. What made the difference in their lives? Which path would you choose if it were you?

Ticket to Inclusive Schools
Too many schools follow school policy, not special ed law. The solution to this dilemma? Get involved and help create inclusive practices for your child's school!

What Approach Should I Take With My Child Who Has Autism?
A thoughtful mom, Dee Blose, shares profound insight on strategies to ensure children with autism can enjoy successful lives. Her wisdom brings common sense to all the hoopla of "new treatments" for autism.

What We Owe Children
Adults have responsibilities for ALL children, and children with disabilities may need "more" than children without disabilities. How then, can we continue giving them "less"? They're counting on us, and we owe them whatever they need to succeed!

You Are What You Learn
That's so, so true. What are children and adults with disabilities learning (and what are they not learning)? Helplessness or self-reliance; appropriate or inappropriate behaviors...and more. How does what a person learns (or not learns) shape his/her life forever?

 


Discover other valuable articles

and helpful information on these pages: 

Newsletter Library

Your Stories

People First Language

New Attitudes

Language and Communication

Strategies for All

Professionals-Organizations

 

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