New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense

Disability Is Natural Books and Media

Time is really the only capital that any human being has and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.

Thomas Edison

What's Happening Today? What's Really Important?

Enormous efforts (and millions of dollars) are expended on behalf of people with disabilities. Therapies, special programs, writing goals, and more are the tip of the “helping” iceberg. Those who provide the help (parents, teachers, service providers, health care staff, etc.) have the very best of intentions, but do our efforts help children and adults live the lives they want today, and are we focused on what’s really important to them? And shouldn’t these fundamental questions guide everything we do?

In her middle school special ed classroom, 12-year-old Sarah is expected to spend hours learning to tie her shoes. Is this really an important skill? Will it help Sarah get a job one day? No. Are there any shoe-tying jobs? No! If there were, and if shoe-tying was important to Sarah, then by all means, let’s spend time on this. Otherwise, we should forget about it. Our time, and Sarah’s, should be spent on ensuring Sarah is a successful sixth-grader, today—in academics, in extra-curricular activities, and other areas of real importance to Sarah. And Sarah can wear slip-ons, clogs, or boots, or she can wear her lace-up shoes untied like all the other sixth-graders!

Tom, a senior in high school, is still pulled out of class by the occupational therapist for handwriting. (And this has been going on since kindergarten.) Is he studying to be a calligrapher? No! So why is time wasted on this? If Tom can sign his name the way a physician does, that’s good enough; the rest of Tom’s work can be done on the computer. And aren’t computer skills more likely to enhance Tom’s success in post-secondary education and/or employment than handwriting? ​Click here to continue.