Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet a tutor at the Fletcher Free Library named Jill. When Jill asked “Where do you work?” & I explained, her first questions was: “does that include people with disabilities?”
After responding in the affirmative we had a great conversation in which she generously shared her wealth of knowledge & resources.
First she recommends checking out this “etiquette pamphlet” from the VT Developmental Disability Council. Especially helpful when put up in front of the classroom or on the classroom door. The list includes:
*Use a normal tone of voice. You don’t need to speak loudly.
*Remember that I am a person first; and also happen to have a disability. If you need information about the disability, don’t hesitate to ask me about it directly. Ask me how you should refer to my disability.
And she suggested The Schneider Family Book Award:
“The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences. Three annual awards each consisting of $5000 and a framed plaque, will be given annually in each of the following categories: birth through grade school (age 0–8), middle school (age 9–13) and teens (age 14–18). (Age groupings are approximations).
The book must emphasize the artistic expression of the disability experience for children and or adolescent audiences. The book must portray some aspect of living with a disability or that of a friend or family member, whether the disability is physical, mental or emotional”. (www.ala.org)
Some titles I am looking forward to reading:
* Sosu’s Call:
Asare, Meshack. Kane, 2002. Sosu and his dog, Fusa, warn the inhabitants of an African village of a threatening violent storm even though Sosu cannot use his legs to walk. The villagers show their appreciation with a special gift. For kindergarten to grade 3.
* Hanni and Beth: Safe and Sound
Finke, Beth. Blue Marlin, 2007.
Seeing Eye dog Hanni describes her routine duties to guide and protect her partner Beth, a woman who is blind. Both Hanni and Beth provide personal notes about their background. For kindergarten to grade 3. ASPCA award.
Lord, Cynthia. Scholastic Press, 2006.
Sometimes twelve-year-old Catherine resents her brother David, who is autistic, breaks all the rules, and gets all her parents’ attention. Then she meets Jason, a teenage nonverbal paraplegic, at David’s therapy center. As the two become friends, Catherine realizes that accepting differences matters more than any rules. For grades 5 to 8. Schneider Family Book Award, 2007.
Thanks Jill for doing the work it takes to create a more welcoming community in Burlington!