Tag Archives: disABILITY

The Family Village

Found this link through the VT Department of Health’s,  Children With Special Health Needs, website.

“Welcome to the Family Village! We are a global community that integrates information, resources, and communication opportunities on the Internet for persons with cognitive and other disabilities, for their families, and for those that provide them services and support.

Our community includes informational resources on specific diagnoses, communication connections, adaptive products and technology, adaptive recreational activities, education, worship, health issues, disability-related media and literature, and much, much more!”


Reading Selections and Booklists

Yesterday, Rebecca and Megan at the Fletcher Free Library introduced me to two great new books: Reid’s Read-Alouds and Readers Advisory for Children and Tweens by Penny Peck.

Here is Reid’s book list titled “People with Disabilities”:

  • Look, Lenore.  Ruby Lu
  • Lord, Cynthia.  Rules
  • Lowny, Lois.  Gathering Blues
  • Mackei, Kathy.  Mad Cat
  • Miller, Sarah.  Miss Spitfire
  • Morpurgo, Michael.  Private Peaceful
  • Sachar, Louis.  Small Steps
  • Smith, D. James.  The Boys of San Joaquin
  • Woodson, Jacqueline.  Feathers

There are many many other great lists in Reid’s book with great book descriptions as well.  Enjoy checking them out!

Recognizing & Beginning to Undo Ableism

Are you free on Thursday, October 28th, 2010 2pm-3:30pm EST? Check out the Recognizing & Beginning to Undo Ableism webinar from the National Youth Advocacy Coalition.

“Did you know that not all disabilities are physical? What about the idea that not all disabilities are visible? it’s easy to forget or even worse overlook these really basic and necessary facts about people. Join NYAC and facilitator Bethany Stevens, as she explains: terms around ableism, disability, and how you can become a better ally to the youth you serve.”

Register through the NYAC website here.

Anything But Typical, Show Way

Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

*Starred Review* Baskin tells this luminous story entirely from the point of view of Jason, an autistic boy who is a creative-writing whiz and deft explainer of literary devices, but markedly at a loss in social interactions with “neurotypicals” both at school and at home. He is most comfortable in an online writing forum called Storyboard, where his stories kindle an e-mail-based friendship with a girl. His excitement over having a real friend (and maybe even girlfriend) turns to terror when he learns that his parents want to take him on a trip to the Storyboard conference, where he’ll no doubt have to meet her in person. With stunning economy, Baskin describes Jason’s attempts to interpret body language and social expectations, revealing the extreme disconnect created by his internalization of the world around him. Despite his handicap, Jason moves through his failures and triumphs with the same depth of courage and confusion of any boy his age. His story, while neither particularly heartbreaking nor heartwarming, shows that the distinction between “normal” and “not normal” is whisper-thin but easily amplified to create the chasm between “different” and “defective.” This is an enormously difficult subject, but Baskin, without dramatics or sentimentality, makes it universal. As Jason explains, there’s really only one kind of plot: “Stuff happens. That’s it.” Grades 4-7. –Ian Chipman

Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson

Gr. 3-5. A Show Way is a quilt with secret meanings, and the image works as both history and haunting metaphor in this exquisite picture book. Based on Woodson’s own history, the unforgettable story tells of African American women across generations, from slavery and the civil rights movement to the present. The cut-out jacket design is impressive, as is Talbott’s mixed-media artwork inside, which extends Woodson’s clear poetic narrative with beautiful collages that make use of big triangles, squares, and curves to emphasize portraits and landscapes and show connections and courage. The first double-page spread is of anguished separation when Soonie’s great-grandmother is sold “without her ma or pa.” Growing up on a plantation in South Carolina, Soonie learns from Big Mama about children “growing up and getting themselves free,” and also how to sew quilts with signs that show the way to freedom. Time passes: Soonie’s granddaughter, Georgiana, has twin girls who march for freedom in the 1960s. The final glorious spread shows Georgiana’s granddaughter, Jacqueline Woodson, laughing at home with her own beloved daughter, Toshi Georgiana, whose picture is embedded in a quilt, connecting her with those who came before. A must for the classroom, this story will move many readers to explore their own family roots; link it to the Booklist interview with Woodson [BKL F 1 05], in which she talks about what she owes to those who came before her. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Buddies Build a Bridge to Disabilities in Schools

Read the article here and see full text below:

Buddies build a bridge to disabilities in school

Rachel Olding
August 18, 2010 – 3:00AM

Harmanjot Kaur is not sure what her best friend Bree Grisedale’s intellectual disability is because ”frankly, it doesn’t matter,” she said.

They are among 150 sets of ”buddies” who make up Best Buddies Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that pairs an intellectually disabled person with an able buddy to spend time together, whether playing video games or shopping.

Mark Trevaskis believes there are no organisations like his. He asked the NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care for $1 million this year to expand around the state but received $150,000, barely enough to continue operating.

”It’s really simple friendship stuff, it’s not mentoring,” he said. ”It’s innovative but I think government and corporates struggle with the idea. Normally a case manager doesn’t advocate a friendship but we’re very clear that we work in that area. We sit in a grey area so it’s difficult to get funding.”

Bree, 15, and Harmanjot, 13, go to the movies together, have sleepovers and ”just talk about everything to each other,” Bree said. ”If I have some problems I can go to her and she helps with my homework, too. It helps me mix with other people.”

Mr Trevaskis believes Best Buddies has an important role to play in the state government’s social inclusion agenda.

The education of disabled and special needs children in mainstream schools has been hotly debated lately.

Up to 15,000 students with disabilities and 50,000 students with learning needs are taught in mainly mainstream classes in NSW. Government policy has emphasised greater integration but teachers gave evidence to a NSW upper house inquiry last month that they were failing to meet the needs of all their pupils because of the unmet demands of integrated students.

”Integrated schooling is a great way to acknowledge the needs of people with a disability but just because you stick a person beside someone who doesn’t have a disability, doesn’t mean they will integrate,” Mr Trevaskis said.

”You notice it best at recess and lunch and after school. The kids with the intellectual disabilities will congregate. Our program provides a bridge. We think if you’re going to integrate, let’s integrate properly.”

Vermonters Celebrate Americans with Disabilities Act 20th Anniversary

Yesterday was the 20th Anniversary of the ADA.


Check out the NPR Story: “Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act 15* years ago, and it has since had a profound impact on the public’s attitude toward people with disabilities. It’s also playing a key role in the lives of wounded soldiers returning from Iraq. Joseph Shapiro and Steve Inskeep discuss the ADA.”

*ada.gov says 20th… NPR says 15th…


Check out the WCAX story:

“A celebration Thursday for the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

People gathered at the Statehouse lawn to mark the landmark civil rights law. Vendors from different organizations were there and later there was a dance with an accessible dance floor. Hundreds turn out for the yearly celebration for the law that tried to end discrimination against people with disabilities.

“People with disabilities– especially in the state of Vermont– we are so isolated and to bring us all together in a statewide meeting is just a really great way to say we are people with disabilities, we have rights too,” said Ericka Reil of the Vt. Center for Independent Living. “And to mark it on the Statehouse is just monumental because people often say they don’t see us out in the community and this is showing we want to be part of the community.”

“The ADA was a great accomplishment but you also want to remember and looking ahead and assessing how you are doing in terms of the road to equal rights and I think we’ve made recent progress and there is still a long way to go,” said Ed Paquin of Disability Rights Vermont.

Advocates say people in wheelchairs are still having problems navigating some stores, and they also are worried about recent state budget cuts to programs.

Kristin Carlson – WCAX News

“Does that include people with disabilities?”

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!