Megan Bomgaars, a young woman with Down syndrome, speaks to teachers about best practices for teaching an individual with disabilities. She has an incredible ability to capture in words exactly what teachers need to do or not do to help children with disabilites achieve their full potential. Please watch this video and send it along to those who might benefit from the information!
This is a book that will be released in September 2011 about the politics behind Down syndrome. It was written by the father of a 6 year-old son with Down syndrome. It has received great reviews from DownsEd International CEO, Frank Buckley. The author addresses debates like finding a blood test for Down syndrome and the limited knowledge that the general public and lawmakers have about Down syndrome (as well as the generalizations that exist). I am looking forward to reading it! Here is a link to the article:
I recently came across an article about a young woman with Down syndrome who attends USC and is a teacher's assistant in a Kindermusik classroom. This young lady is impressive for many reasons, but her speech is what stood out to me. She has exceptional speaking abilities and is very articulate about her goals and abilities. It is obvious that she has worked very hard to arrive where she is and it gives me a lot of hope and motivation for my own son. Here is the article (with a video):
The HBO documentary MONICA AND DAVID was available on Youtube, but was taken off, however, it is available on Netflix. This documentary follows a couple who both have Down syndrome and are getting married and navigating through the different considerations for independent living as adults with an intellectual disability. Be sure to check it out!
I also came across two other documentaries on Youtube about a young boy named Peter who has Down syndrome who was part of the first group to be fully included in a regular education classroom. The two documentaries are Educating Peter and Graduating Peter and they are both available on Youtube. Here is the link to the first part of Educating Peter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBv0AedUNI8&feature=related and this is the link to the first part of Graduating Peter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6AwCVg_3fE&feature=related.
Enjoy and be sure to post your thoughts after watching.
Even though SOU is continuing to uphold their unsupported decision to exclude Eliza Schaaf from the ceramics class in which she was enrolled, there has been good news about higher education for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The article below was posted yesterday and covers the story of Ben Majewski who is in his first semester at Massachusetts Bay Community College. He has been welcomed by the school community and this college is one of many creating programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities who would like to pursue higher education. Be sure to check out Ben's story as well as watching Eliza's story, which may be the beginning of a major change in the way colleges look at both potential and current students with intellectual disabilities.
There is a young woman, Eliza Schaaf, who enrolled in a ceramics class at Southern Oregon University and received a letter after attending two-thirds of the sessions saying that she was not longer able to participate. The letter stated that she was a distraction and did not meet the academic qualifications of the University. However, Eliza was auditing the class and every student in the class signed a petition asking for her reinstatement citing that she brought a lot to the class and was not a distraction/disruption.
Over the weekend, Eliza received another letter from the Dean of Students at SOU upholding the decision.
This situation has created quite a stir and rightfully so......it will be interesting to see how this might affect policies at other universities and the growth of programs for individuals with disabilities.
Here are some links to the news stories as well as Eliza's website that documents her reasons for joining the class and the support that she has received from the student body and community:
Let me know what you think and if you know of any programs at the local universities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.