New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense

Disability Is Natural Books and Media

We recognized the importance of focusing on what Benjamin

can do, and building on those skills, instead of focusing on—and trying to "fix"—what

he cannot do.

Kathie Snow 

The Can-List

​​When my son, Benjamin, was very young, he was routinely assessed by professionals, like most children and adults with disabilities, and I was routinely disturbed by these assessments—they told me everything my son could not do. (Duh! Tell me something I didn’t already know!) As a three-year-old with cerebral palsy, he couldn’t sit up, crawl, or walk; didn’t have the pincer grasp, protective reflexes, and more; and he had just started talking.

Benjamin was also a happy, funny, and determined kiddo with many abilities. Once he began to talk, he demonstrated an extraordinary auditory memory and the gift of mimicry: he perfectly recited dialogue from “Thomas, the Tank Engine” videos with a British accent!

But because the strengths he did have were not included in the developmental assessments, they didn’t count. Thus, based on the tests, he looked like a failure. The child represented by test results was not the child we knew. So we declined formal assessments, opting for informal assessments instead​ . . . Click here to continue.