New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense
Our Actions, Their Futures
What we do today—right this minute—can have a profound influence on someone's future.
The Disability Rights Movement is over 60 years old! It's been a long slog. In the meantime, other social justice movements seem to be making greater progress. Perhaps we don't have enough allies joining our cause?
Permission to Fail (and Succeed)
We all need to experience the "dignity of risk," and be able learn from mistakes; then we'll be able to succeed!
Power of Imagination
Let's get out of the Status-Quo-Rut and put our imaginations to work. What great changes we'll see!
It was the Power of One doctor, One school principal, One teacher, One Scout leader, One sensei that changed our son's life. Each of us has great personal power. How will you use yours?
Presume Competence (series of three articles)
New ways of doing things can lead to better outcomes for children and adults with disabilities. Parents, educators, and/or professionals of all types can put these strategies to work today!
To see all of our articles, please visit the Library page.
Problem-Solving: A Most Valuable Skill
People with disabilities (like everyone else) need to learn to solve their own problems so they can become as self-reliant as possible.
Relevant and Meaningful
Goals, activities, and other events in a person's life need to be relevant and meaningful to her.
We worry about the safety of people with disabilities, but we're often not recognizing important things that can ensure their safety.
People with disabilities may have too many people in their lives; all the more reason we need to focus on leaving a small footprint.
Let's sweep up and clean out our minds, just the way we do our homes. What a difference it will make!
Start with Strengths
We usually know all about a person's diagnoses, needs, etc. What good will happen when we focus first on the person's strengths?
What needs to happen so you'd be willing, for one day, to trade places with a person with a disability?
People with disabilities receive all kinds of treatments, but what about they way we actually treat them, day in and day out?
Walk in Their Shoes
Ahhh...what positive changes can occur when we try to walk in another's shoes.
What Will It Take?
Here's a negotiating strategy that can yield positive outcomes in a variety of ways.
What's Happening Today? What's Really Important?
Our efforts in providing assistance to a person with a disability is often focused somewhere in the future. But what's really important today?
When Is a Disability Not a Disability
Is a person's disability always important? When and where is it not? And what difference does it make?
When Less is More
Too much help can make a person helpless; starting with less help and adding more, as necessary, is a better strategy.
When the Table is Turned
When you sit on one side of the table, you see things one way. But what happens when you're on the other side?
You and I (adult version)
Review this comparison, then think about positive changes you can create.
You Are What You Learn
What does a person learn in aberrant "special" environments vs. ordinary, inclusive environments?
When children or adults with disabilities are authorized to make their own choices and they have the tools they need, success is the result.
As activists, let's move from pleading to negotiating!
It's time to move beyond the perceived "negatives" about a person with a disability and assume the best.
What if you didn't meet benchmarks and were compared to others throughout your life? Yikes! Let's do better.
A helpful exercise that can clarify our thinking and generate great outcomes.
Let's focus on what a person with a disability can do, instead of what he can't.
The word "care" is used a great deal in this field, but we can do a better job when we begin to really care about what's important to people with disabilities.
Dental Patient (an analogy)
An insightful and thought-provoking article by the caring director of a human services agency.
Let's eliminate the harmful "developmental age" practice and allow people to "be" their chronological age.
Millions make a living in the disability field, but what about the employment of people with disabilities?
We have one set of rules for people without disabilities; another set for people with disabilities. Until we eliminate this practice, little progress will be made.
A thoughtful critique of a multi-billion dollar business that impacts the lives of millions.
How can people (parents and/or professionals) be highly educated yet still remain ignorant about children and adults with disabilities?
If your life has been programmed to the nth degree, it's no surprise that people with disabilities say, "Nothing about me without me!"
All of us are products of our environment; what's the impact of inclusive vs. segregated environments?
Alert the Media: making eye contact isn't as important or as necessary as we think it is!
Are we really seeing what's in front of us? You'll be able to relate to the examples in this article.
We do a great deal to "help" people with disabilities. But we may actually be causing harm, too.
On the continuum, where do you stand, how did you get there, and does your position need to change?
We may have many goals in mind for a person with a disability, but are we getting the desired outcomes?
Too many goals written for an individual are meaningless and irrelevant. Let's do better!
People with disabilities often have the best ideas—are we listening?
We may work diligently on a person's body and brain, but what about her heart and mind?
Before giving up on trying something new, let's ask, "How..." This strategy can lead to success!
Not every characteristic or trait is a result of a person's disability; it might simply be a "human being" issue.
Great outcomes can result when we first say, "If . . ."
A person with a disability may have a variety of relationships with "helping" professionals, but who's in the lead of those relationships?
None of us are independent; we all need help from others. So let's not impose the "be independent goal" on people with disabilities.
People with disabilities may be entrusted to the care of a variety of professionals. Do those professionals understand the trust issue?
We often make things harder than they need to be; let's get on the Keep-It-Simple bandwagon.
We don't know it all; when we get curious, we'll learn what's really important to and for people with disabilities.
People with disabilities don't need to "get ready," they don't need to keep practicing. We need to make sure they can get on with their lives!
It's time to start marketing the strengths, abilities, and other positive characteristics of people with disabilities.
Every day, we contribute to the memories of a person with a disability. What kind of memories will they be?
Obituaries always include the "best" about a person. Do we have to wait for a person to die to focus on all that's good about them?
"We don't want you to do such-and-such, but we're going to put you others who also do such-and-such." Does this make any sense?
If we make new agreements with ourselves, we'll be on the road to creating new lives.
If a person has no responsibilities, he's dependent and helpless, and that's not a real life.
When it all feels overwhelming, let's focus on just one thing so we can get it done and be successful.
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People's real-life experiences can provide valuable of lessons.
Regular Lives for Families with Children with Disabilities features yours truly, Kathie Snow, speaking about a variety of topics in 22 video clips, provided by the MN Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities (with my thanks and gratitude).
Create Positive Change—Generate Better Outcomes!