Category - disability

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A Unique Teacher Imparts Real Life Lessons
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The Backpack Pack Rat Strikes Again
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Therapy As Play—Joyful Learning
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Include Classmates Who Have Special Needs
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Mother of the Year

A Unique Teacher Imparts Real Life Lessons

I started watching this video through “teacher” eyes; interested in what makes this particular educator unique. I didn’t expect to be so incredibly moved by his experience as a parent.  I wonder if his parenting a child who has a disABILITY makes him a more compassionate and intuitive teacher? I can’t see how it wouldn’t. It’s clear he has been able to incorporate his personal struggles and strengths into his teaching. He generously shares his positive attitude and can-do outlook with the world and his students are benefitting.  Sometimes even the most seemingly ordinary people live the most extraordinary lives. And they are often the people who teach us the most important lessons about life.  Watch this. It’s truly wonderful. 

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The Backpack Pack Rat Strikes Again

  My girl loves herself a backpack. Or a purse. Or better yet, someone else’s purse. So if yours is pink or has a butterfly on it, you’d best keep one hand on your handbag at all times. In typical female fashion, she stuffs her bag full of completely unnecessary items. I wrote about her handbag hoarding tendencies here along with a list of the typical contents of her bag on any given day. Our backpack pack rat often comes home with things she’s collected at school: her teacher’s sunglasses, a classmate’s pencil case, somebody else’s journal, one sock belonging to some poor sockless child, sheets and sheets and sheets of paper, a creepy doll, a glue stick…and the list goes on. To be clear, she’s not stealing. She has no concept of it. She merely likes to collect items and is happy to dole out the goods to her friends and family. She also attempts to bring things from home to “share” at school. I’ve intercepted many household items stowed away in her backpack, destined for some epic Show and Tell session. I’ve retrieved her brother’s homework, water bottle and one of his Crocs before she made it out the door.[…]

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Therapy As Play—Joyful Learning

  When your child achieves a new milestone, it’s a true wonder. You think, “How are they doing this all by themselves?? Where’s my camera?!” Whether you share these pivotal moments; blog them, Instagram them, Facebook them, scrapbook them or simply hold them in your heart, they’re worth celebrating. My daughter started grade one this year. Though cognitively she is approximately age four, she’s holding her own with her peers. She relies less and less on her Educational Assistant (who we are so thankful for by the way) and she’s making decisions, following routines, and learning with increasing independence. From being warned that our child may never fully integrate into a class of her peers, to…this? I can’t express how thrilled we are. So how did she come this far? An initial diagnosis isn’t always the eventual reality. Sheer determination and moxy also factor in. Never underestimate moxy. It’s fierce.  Family and friends have also been instrumental by providing us with the support and confidence we’ve needed to see us through challenging times. My father-in-law refers to us as, “Team Thornbury.” He’s right. We are a team. We just need jerseys.  And finally, our community. If our child had been born[…]

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Include Classmates Who Have Special Needs

My child is different. Her genetics make it so. Due to a random stroke of fate, a chunk of her DNA is missing. Nobody knows why.   But old friends don’t search for what is missing. They just see what’s right there in front of them—the joyful light surrounding this happy girl. They love her big laugh and even bigger hugs. They embrace her mischievous streak of curiosity. They accept her just as she is.   But new friends, some adults and children, hesitate. “What’s wrong with her?” they ask in hushed voices…which we can totally hear by the way.    There is nothing wrong with her.    She may have trouble communicating succinctly. She might stumble over her words or repeat herself, but she has something to say. She wants to contribute to the conversation.  She doesn’t always understand when you’re making fun of her or that you’re leaving her out, but as she gets older, she is more aware.  When your child, with a disability or not, comes home from school in tears because they had nobody to play with at recess, it stings.  She doesn’t need to be invited to everything. (Side Note: Number of parties she was[…]

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Mother of the Year

When Heather lost her three year old son Zack, she didn’t stop being a mom. Though her heart was broken, Zack’s brothers needed her more than ever. So she embraced them and loved them as mothers do while she made a plan to keep a promise; the one she made to Zack and to herself as they said goodbye. She vowed to keep his memory alive and to have Elmo, Zack’s comfort and joy, speak his name. And that’s just what she did. Heather tirelessly raised money to create a room (two rooms in fact!) in Zack’s name at York Central Hospital. She also persevered until Kevin Clash (the puppeteer who IS Elmo) knew how much Zackie loved him. Kevin knows and he was touched. And Elmo did speak Zack’s name. Heather is healing with her family and she continues to tell Zack’s story, not only to keep his memory alive, but to help other families deal with the pain of losing a child.” Heather and I became friends online. We bonded over our special needs kids and soon discovered we had many other things in common. When my daughter was in hospital shortly after Zack died, Heather kept tabs on[…]

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