Focusing on Interests Increases Learning Opportunities
I found your website because we've read some of your articles in one of my college courses. I just read your article titled, "The Can-List" and I absolutely loved it! While skimming the article, I noticed you mentioned "Thomas the Tank Engine" and that made me immediately connect to it as I have a son who is obsessed with Thomas!
I feel that your approach is not only respectful to your child and it's also smart! You live with and raise your child, so you already know what he cannot do, as you said, and it's silly to focus on the "can't" when you can focus on the "can." I feel that using formal assessments to tell you things that you already know is a waste of time—time that can be used to practice and continue to learn and build on skills and "cans.
I also feel that incorporating a child's likes into teaching is one of the most beneficial things that can be done. I spent a few weeks tutoring a child who I could not get through to with the lesson I had planned. Rather than keep trying to make "my lesson" happen, I modified it into his lesson and included characters from Pokémon and activities relating to Pokémon. Was it the lesson that I had originally come up with? No. But it was a lesson that taught what I was trying to teach in a way that got through to him and made it enjoyable for both of us!
Thanks for your wonderful articles!
Lena, a parent from Virginia, handed me the following note immediately after my presentation to her class at Virginia Partners in Policymaking:
I have to write this instead of telling you because I don't want to cry. When I was expecting Katherine, I started a college fund for her and made monthly contributions. When she was diagnosed [with autism], I stopped. Thanks to your presentations, those monthly contributions are starting back up—thank you!
YOUR STORIES - SHARE AND LEARN!
A Dad's Experience
Thanks, Kathie Snow, for your presentations at Florida Partners in Policymaking. So much of what you said was just what I needed to hear and the timing was perfect for me.
For some time now, I've had issues with so much of what's going on in my 13-year-old son's life. Sometimes it seems I'm the only person who realizes what potential he has! Therapists talk about "cognitive age" and "performance" and how he doesn't do this and that for them. It seems they don't have a clue that he won't perform for them because he does not want to! He does not speak, sign, or use communication cards, and he does get frustrated, leading to "inappropriate behaviors."
I'm a single parent and require someone to be here while I'm away. After your presentations, I told my son we were going to stop some of the specialists coming into our home. He got up, came to me, sat in my lap, and put his arm around me. A powerful moment!
I'm reading your Disability is Natural book, and look forward to every chance I have to read more. Your presentations were just what I needed, and I'm so grateful to be part of Florida Partners In Policymaking 2010.
People's real-life experiences often provide the most valuable of lessons. And there will be more to come on a regular basis.
Many of you have been kind enough to share your personal stories about how the "Disability is Natural" message (via my presentations, articles, books, etc.) and/or your own common sense has caused you to rethink the conventional wisdom of Disability World and to take a new path. My thanks and appreciation for your sharing on our site; we can all learn so much from one another!
If you'd like to share the different path you're taking, how you're doing things differently from the status quo, or an "Ah-Ha" moment you've experienced, use the Contact form to send it to us for consideration. We'll review it and contact you before publishing it.
I Don't Give Up!
NOTE: This message was included when Joy placed her order from the Disability is Natural online store.
I want Kathie Snow to know how much she has changed my life. I have three children with autism and have done everything under the sun to raise awareness and to have them included. It's been very difficult. However, Kathie's words in her Disability is Natural website articles inspire me and when I feel like giving up, I don't.
I use Kathie's "What Will It Take?" strategy! I bought the iron-on transfers of this design so my kids can wear them to school each day. Thank you!
New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense