Educator Torrie Dunlap believes that we look at kids with disabilities the wrong way… an inspiring TED talk, forward by Hailey Reissman

Torrie

Educator Torrie Dunlap believes that we look at kids with disabilities the wrong way. By calling their needs “special” and pushing them into “special” schools, groups and activities, we segregate them, sending a message that if you have a disability, you aren’t welcome to participate in “regular” activities.

What we really need to do, she suggests, is question why our “regular” activities aren’t designed to accommodate kids of all abilities, why “regular” is discriminatory to those with disabilities.

“I believe that a reason why, as a society, we have not embraced children with disabilities as full participants in our schools and communities is the limitation of our own mental models around disability,” she says in a talk at TEDxAmerica’sFinestCity. “We have moved from hiding and institutionalizing children to a world where kids with disabilities are special and receive special services inspecial settings with special caregivers, and they — and their families– are disenfranchised from the community at large  …

“I believe that ‘special’ has become a euphemism for ‘separate,’” Dunlap says. “When we create a separate, special place for children where their ‘special needs’ can be met, we are teaching them that their place is over there, with people like them and not in the full community.”

These alienating activities range from “special” proms for high schoolers with disabilities to a particularly disturbing example from Dunlap — a night for “Challenged Buckaroos” at a rodeo. “No special adaptations for disability are needed or offered [at the rodeo] that I can tell,” she says, “[so] why do children who have a disability label need their own special rodeo? What message are we sending to kids when we create a separate rodeo just for them?”

The speaker tackles a difficult issue, society’s models of disability and how they affect children, and looks at it from several angles, using evidence culled from years working with children with disabilities. She is passionate about the issue, ties her experience to greater sociological theories of disability and offers a challenge to the audience to think differently about an entrenched idea.

 

See TED talk below:

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“If You Look for the Goodness in Your Children, Good Things Will Happen”, by Linda Petersen

After marrying young and giving birth to a son who was legally blind (and who went on to earn a PhD on full scholarship), Linda Petersen and her husband adopted four more special needs children and fostered many others. This book is the story of their journey.

Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane Blog

My dear friends and readers,

Please excuse this commercial interruption of your regular reading.

My book, with an actual cover and pages with WORDS on them in between, has just been published!!!


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The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane
Authored by Linda Petersen

(Review by Dawn Raffel from Readers Digest:)
Her story begins not with her children but with her own childhood spent traveling the country in the backseat of her parents’ car (her perpetually restless dad had post-traumatic stress disorder from WWII), often with very little money and few provisions. Where someone else might have seen deprivation and isolation, Petersen viewed her unusual childhood with a sense of wonder and gratitude. After marrying young and giving birth to a son who was legally blind (and who went on to earn a PhD on full scholarship), Petersen and her husband adopted four more special needs children…

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A Terminally ill 6-Year Old Boy Decides to Do Something Very Special With His Make-A-Wish Gift

A wonderful story… the mother of Levi, who is 6 years old and terminally ill, hopes that this story will inspire others who are in what must surely be one of the most difficult situations imaginable: that of knowing your child’s life will end long before your own does.  We can not help but be moved by the two amazing children in this uplifting story.  🙂

Kindness Blog

One Terminally ill 6-Year Old Boy and his Make-A-Wish GiftThis heart-breaking story is an example of extraordinary kindness between two children, it is also a grand lesson in how we all might attempt to act in life.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a well-known charity that aims to help terminally ill children realize their hopes and dreams, under otherwise terrible personal circumstances.

Whether it be a trip to Disneyland, or a meeting with a famous hero the Foundation has assisted in bringing a moment of happiness into the lives of countless children over the years.

However, this story among such hardship does stand out.

One Terminally ill 6-Year Old Boy and his Make-A-Wish Gift

In 2014, Make-A-Wish approached 6-year-old Levi Mayhew and gave him the opportunity to have his wish granted. Instead, he asked for his wish to be given to someone else – a 10-year-old girl from his school named Emma Broyer.

One Terminally ill 6-Year Old Boy and his Make-A-Wish GiftLevi has found a supportive and caring friend in Emma at school where she walks him to…

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Where are the rights of children with disabilities? By Latifa Daud

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Latifa-Daud

Latifa Daud is currently a student at the University of Auckland, Aotearoa/ New Zealand, who has been permanently wheelchair-bound for the past 6 years.
She has no formal credentials as yet, except for seeing the world from a unique stand-(or should I say ‘sit’)-point on a daily basis, which she writes about in her blog, “The Daily Blog”.
As a result, this has caused her to hold strong opinions about the structure of society, as well as the negative connotations held by many regarding ordinary, everyday people who just happen to be differently-abled.  In this article she explores some of the differences between rights for children with and without disabilities and the resources available to their carers. (Click link below to read article).

Where are the rights of children with disabilities? « The Daily Blog.