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Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I wanted to talk about a conference I went to back in October.
The guest speakers were husband and wife (The Theoharis's) and also professors at Syracuse University. Here is Julie's website for those interested in learning more.

When I first decided I wanted Megan included my husband and I talked about where we thought Megan needed to "be" to do it. We set 1 goal...that she needed to be fully potty trained or otherwise she would stand out in the classroom as different.
What I didn't realize was that it was ok that she was different. Her speech and her physical ability would make her stand out and that was ok. That was why we wanted her included, to make her "difference" one's others could accept.

Julie Causton-Theoharis started the conference by talking about a mom and her disabled daughter. Julie was assigned to this family as a 1 on 1 and was told she would be doomed as a para-professional because this mother was CRAZY (or so that is what the other teachers and school administration had said). Her daughter could not walk and barely spoke, she was in a wheelchair and she wanted her daughter to go to her home school. NOW THAT IS CRAZY ISN'T IT???? Julie spent a lot of time with this family. The mother started out by telling her their story. They moved into town and her daughter was assigned to go to a special school where they were prepared to deal with her extensive needs. Her mother would have to wake up extra early and put her daughter on a bus that goes 1 hour away. But her mother didn't want that. She wanted her daughter to go to the same school as the kids next door. The school was not even a mile from her home. Shouldn't her daughter get to go to that school? It saves her daughter 2 hours of riding on a bus a day...10 hours a week. So the mother wheeled her daughter right into the home school and signed her up. The school looked at her and her daughter and nicely said, "oh, your daughter needs to go to the wheel chair school, not here, we are not equipped to help her here."
So the mother was shooed away and told to send her to the other school.
The mom still did not want to go to that other school so she marched right into the school the next day and wheeled her daughter into the 1st grade classroom where she belonged. She walked out and went home. She received a phone call right away telling her to come pick up her daughter that the teacher was not equipped to handle her and didn't know what to do with her. The mother responded,"just teach her like you would teach the other kids" and hung up the phone. The phone rang again and it was the school administration telling the mother to come pick up the child. That the building had fire safety rules and that they would not be able to get her daughter out of the school in time and she would most likely die in a fire.
The mother instead researched and found that not only were there no fires ever in that school, but there were no real fires in any of the schools in that state in the past 50 years. So the mother went right into that school and said, "I give you my permission that if there is a fire in the school then you can let my daughter burn."

THINK ABOUT THIS AND I WILL BE BACK TO BLOG LATER.

2 comments:

ABandCsMom said...

Wow. I'm sitting here shocked to have read that last sentence. Can't wait to read the rest. Very interesting.

datri said...

In theory, I believe in full inclusion regardless of ability. But geez, Kayla can't even walk into our local school building without falling to the floor and screaming at the top of her lungs. I've tried for the past couple years when I pick up Laurie from Brownies. There's lots of other reasons it would not have been an appropriate placement for HER.