Yesterday the Senate said “no”.  They said “no” to uplifting the voices of people with disabilities around the world. We saw some Senators talking about how they  couldn’t support the Convention because it would create a ripple effect in the U.S resulting in the legislators directing parents’ choices.
Testing and services in public schools are determined by  legislation and budgets.  The special education system is legislated but not designed to teach and prepare students with disabilities for productive citizenship.  In some states the folks  leading state education agencies are lawyers not educators.  The best and the brightest educators become disillusioned and leave the public school system  within 3 to 5 years. The educators who remain, do their best to teach children within the policies of the school district administrators who follow the dictates of the legislators.

Few families have the means or a generous enough healthcare plan affording them the freedom to choose between public school or private services for their child .  People with disabilities and their families want the freedom to be included, to be heard and to choose.  If a disabled child receives public school services, then legislators are already involved in educational choices.
Senators, don’t shut the barn door, the  cow already got away.

Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2012

Sharing a Facebook post from Warriors For Autism Incorporated TM



That is why we wanted to share John Franklin Stephen’s blog post with you today.

A diagnosis is a classification for a cluster of symptoms exhibited by enough people on the planet to warrant a name. It is an explanation, not an excuse, a reason, a limitation or a character flaw. We are clinicians who bear witness to our clients’ courageous resilience living in a world that often excludes people with neurological differences. Somehow, diagnostic terms have been woven into our common vernacular by the misinformed to depict and describe character flaws.

We are two friends that John Franklin has not met yet who believe that We The People, armed with kindness, respect and thoughtful eloquence will change the conversation and build awareness to include Neurological Differences in our thoughts, in our words and in our actions.

We Are Here!

October 13, 2012

Come See Us!


A Shout Out to….

October 3, 2012


…Turner Classic Movies for dedicating the month of October to how movies have portrayed people living with disabilities. 

….The armada of determined parents and professionals who paved the way for The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).  Some of these movies predate ADA so we believe they offer a heartening reminder about how much public awareness has been heightened and changed by your efforts.  We are proud to stand in the shadow of your legacy.

Click on the link below to  find a list of the 20 movies selected for The Projected Image: The Portrayal of Disabilities on Film:

September 25, 2012

This interview by Ariane Zurcher, Emma’s Hope Book, tells an amazing story of courage, hope and a family’s loving determination. We were inspired by Chou Chou’s story and we share this with the hope it will offer you encouragement on your journey. Thank you Chou Chou and Ariane!

Emma's Hope Book

I met Chou Chou last spring when she left a comment on this blog.  She wrote, “I love your writing, and find your darling Emma startlingly like me as a child.  I am a happy, successful, 58 year old autistic woman.  I just wanted to say you and your husband are wonderful parents, and Emma will be fine. She will be wonderful. She is wonderful.” 

 I read her comment a dozen times. I felt indescribable joy and I wept.  I was just beginning to read the writings of Autistic adults and had started, very tentatively, to reach out to a few of them.  Then out of nowhere there was Chou Chou reaching out to me!  I was so excited!  I doubt she could know how much her kind words of encouragement meant to me.  We’ve been in touch ever since.

Chou Chou performing with Doc Scantlin and His Imperial Orchestra


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The “Royal We”

July 19, 2012

Paper DollsAs we anticipate the 2012 Summer Olympics, we cannot help but wonder about the athletes’ parents.  How much cajoling, encouraging and driving to practices had they done over the years?  While they likely provided for and supported their children, they couldn’t practice for them, teach them the finer points of the sport, compete for them or take the hurt ankles or sore muscles in their places.  At some point, they probably had to let go and let their children try and try and try and try and try until they mastered the skills under the tutelage of coaches-all by themselves.  If you are a parent of a special needs child, you have spent years monitoring, mentoring, encouraging, cajoling and redirecting your child’s behavior. Somewhere along the way, your personhood was set aside to focus every moment of your day on your child to the point that the two of you morphed into one person.  That is how the “Royal We” became a member of your family.  “We didn’t take our medicine.”  “We don’t feel well today.”  “We had a nightmare.” “We didn’t understand our math homework.” “We didn’t make our bed.”  “We had a meltdown in the cereal aisle because we wanted Mega Sugar Flakes and we said ‘no’.”  Think about it…do you use the Royal We when you speak about your spouse, your sibling your best friend, your employee or your colleague?  (“We had a bad review.” “We grew a beard.” “We had a migraine.”)  When was the last time you completed the work necessary for your spouse to complete a deadline? You probably don’t because you probably don’t take responsibility for their behavior or their work like you do for your child’s.

Many seasoned professionals at state education agencies have spent years developing and refining curriculum and reasonable expectations that are consistent with your child’s development.  Teachers are trained to only give homework on developmentally appropriate concepts that have already been taught to your child.  Your child’s school success is ultimately his choice and responsibility. You can provide all the ingredients for a great year but, you cannot make it happen for him.  Homework should not take over your family life in the evenings. It is not meant to be a collaborative effort between your child and the rest of the family.  You can provide an appropriate place to study with ample light and supplies for your child. You can be a reader or a scribe for your child.  You cannot be a teacher and re-teach the information nor can you be your child’s surrogate.  In other words, learning fourth grade Math, seventh grade Texas History or eleventh grade Chemistry is your child’s responsibility and problem to solve. If your child doesn’t complete homework (for whatever reason) support and offer suggestions –resist the urge to solve the problem:  “I will be happy to drive you to school early to finish this with the teacher.”  If the teacher and you truly believe that there is more than a lack of motivation and responsibility involved in your child’s learning, then explore that further.

You are a facilitator and a supporter for your child’s academic success.  Completing assignments is about personal effort-not communal effort.  Learning is an individual and voluntary act.  You choose to remember and assimilate information.  (Remember the class you had to take in high school? Do you remember anything you “learned”?) Words usually follow thought and precede action.  They give power to situations and events in our lives.   When you use the Royal We when referring to your child, you are taking away a learning opportunity for your child and you send a silent message:  “I’ll take responsibility for you so you won’t have to”.  Watching your child struggle is difficult and heart-wrenching but, it is important to let your child do so in developmentally appropriate ways. In the end, it is their success and their responsibility.  They have not only achieved learning a new skill, they have reached another dimension in their journey.

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