But what do apples have to do with disability?
One of the five apples is green.One American in five is a person with a disability.
(Which makes people with disabilities the largest minority group in the nation—and
it's the only group that anyone can join at any time!)
Apples are natural . . . and having a disability is a "natural part of the human experience"
(as expressed in the U.S. Developmental Disabilities Act).
The sun shines equally on all the apples in the bowl,
and it's time for the light of inclusion, opportunity, freedom, and dignity
to shine equally on all people—including people with disabilities.
I was asked to share insights this evening in regards to inclusive education for children in our primary with disabilities. I have thought long and hard about this. In our home we are truly grateful for those who have taught, nurtured and included our family. I moved into our ward when I was 9 years old. My dad had died 2 years before, my mom was remarried to an awesome guy and we had moved here from Utah. There was a lot of transition in my life at that time. I was fortunate to have a wonderful primary teacher not long after we moved here by the name of Peter. Peter was a young man preparing to go on a mission. He did not make any special accommodations to help me be a part of the class but he did walk with me down the halls of the Prater Way Chapel to our classroom and he required the same of the other members of the class. He spoke to me with respect and most importantly, he helped me to feel loved and accepted. I needed that from him and from my peers. After receiving his mission call, Peter wrote letters to me ( He was a 19 yr old boy and he took time to write letters to me-a little 9 year old girl with cp.) It meant so much to me. I still have those letters as well as his wedding announcement to sweet, Laura. I still know that I can count on Peter over 30 years later. Every child in the church deserves to have a person like Peter in their lives.
My family is unique in that we all have diagnosed disabilities and health conditions. I even have concerns for our pug, Zeus because he has behavior issues that we cannot seem to extinguish no matter what we try.
I was born over 3 months prematurely and weighed 1lb13 oz at birth. As a result, I have cerebral palsy. My husband has bipolar disorder. Our oldest son, Denver has Asperger’s Syndrome (high functioning autism) Our second son, Jordan has celiac disease and our daughters whom we adopted from foster care both have the diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and other challenges related to their traumatic beginnings.
In thinking about what has worked for my children in attending church.
1. Greet the children by name
a. Routine (kids with autism need to know what to expect-difficult to be flexible
b. Role play
e. Room to move-just because a child is wiggling doesn’t mean they are not learning (rocking chair for Heather helped her to move without distracting others)
f. Reinforce positive behavior
5. Sit child with disability near the teacher
6. Give positive prompts
7. Spotlight children in class-it helps them to feel important and helps the children to get to know one another, focus on commonalities
8. Get to Know you games
9. Expand a child’s social circle
10. Praise for sitting reverently even for 3 seconds
14. Find out what the children want
15. All kids can learn with the correct supports-have high expectations-they will rise to it
17. Pre-teach expectations, find out about children from their parents
Inclusion is best for every child. Inclusion is an easy thing to do poorly. When all children are included appropriately, everyone benefits. Teachers become better teachers by inclusion. We should constantly think of how each child can be included in all activities.
Before He Sent His children to earth
Gave each of them
A very carefully selected package of problems.
He promised, smiling,
Are yours alone. No one
Else may have the blessings
These problems will bring you.
And only you
Have the special talents and abilities
That will be needed
To make these problems
Now go down to your birth and to your forgetfulness.
Know that I love you beyond measure.
These problems that I give you
Are a symbol of the love.
The monument you make of your life
With the help of your problems
Will be a symbol of your Love for me,
Your Father. "