Believe in my Child with Special Needs: Helping Children Achieve Their Potential in School / Edition 1

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Overview

Every parent is filled with dreams, fears, hopes, and questions when preparing a child for school—and when that child has a disability, this exciting time can seem overwhelming. This upbeat, reassuring handbook is an invaluable resource to share with parents of a school-age child with a disability. It demystifies complicated issues, encourages parents to celebrate abilities and recognize possibilities, and tells parents everything they need to know to be successful advocates throughout their child's education.

Drawing on her own experiences as a parent of a child with a disability and as an educator, Mary Falvey helps parents

  • understand their child's legal rights
  • pursue an inclusive education for their child, from preschool to high school and beyond
  • collaborate respectfully with educators on their child's IEP
  • promote their child's access to the general curriculum and encourage educators to use appropriate modifications and assessment strategies
  • support their child as he or she develops friendships
  • develop transition plans to help their child achieve their goals after high school

Candid and positive, this easy-to-read guidebook will be a trusted companion for parents—and a helpful source of insight for professionals seeking the parent perspective.

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Editorial Reviews

Paul Wehman

"There is a distinct shortage of hands-on, practical books for parents, advocates, and general educators. . . . This is the first book that I am aware of that focuses directly on what parents and advocates need to know. I highly recommend this guidebook, which I expect will become a leading reference in the field."

Preemie Magazine

"Believe in My Child with Special Needs! by Mary A. Falvey should be on the essential reading list of any parent of a child whose abilities fall anywhere outside what might be considered 'normal'."

Inc. Book News

"In this up-beat handbook for parents of a school-age child with a disability, Falvey (special education, California State University) shows readers how to advocate for their child's education, drawing on her own experiences as an educator and as a parent of a child with a disability. She explains the child's legal rights, and gives practical advice on pursuing an inclusive education for the child, from preschool to high school and beyond. While written for parents, the book is also for professionals seeking the parent perspective."

About.com: Parenting Special Needs

"When it comes to inclusion, Falvey is a true believer, convinced that children with disabilities can and must learn with [peers without disabilities]. She makes a compelling case, and it's gratifying to read a book that's so relentlessly upbeat about our children's abilities. If your district has made a true commitment to inclusion, this will be an invaluable resource. If not, it may just break your heart."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557667021
  • Publisher: Brookes Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 167
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary A. Falvey, Ph.D., is Professor in the Division of Special Education at California State University, Los Angeles. She was a teacher and administrator in the public schools responsible for teaching and administering programs for students with severe disabilities. She received her doctor of philosophy degree in 1980 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has authored numerous chapters, several articles, and the first and second editions of Community-Based Curriculum: Instructional Strategies for Students with Severe Handicaps. She served on the TASH board of directors and is on the California TASH board. She provides workshops and technical assistance on inclusive education throughout the world

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Read an Excerpt

People with disabilities have had to endure a long history of rejection and forced segregation within society. As a parent or teacher of a child with disabilities, you know that despite litigation and legislation intended to eliminate such rejection and discrimination, large numbers of people with disabilities continue to live segregated, isolated, and lonely lives.

Even with the law, the attitudes of many in society have not changed: children with disabilities are still excluded from typical day care and preschool settings; many restaurants, stores, and theaters remain inaccessible; and many doctors and hospitals do not provide sign language interpreters to people who need them. The list is endless. (Snow, 2000, p. 43)

Many doctors still do not talk about a child's disability with the proper care or tact. When parents are told by their doctor that their child has a disability, the information is often framed as bad news. Of course, parents want factual information to explain their child's behavior, appearance, and development, but the information provided by physicians is usually from an impairment perspective (e.g., what is "wrong with the child," what he or she will never be able to do). This information, although useful for obtaining services for the child and family, can also disrupt parent–child relationships and strip parents of their dreams and hopes for their child. Figure 1, an essay written by a parent of a child with Down syndrome, offers insight into the initial reactions that parents have when their child is diagnosed with a disability.

Sometimes when children are diagnosed with a disability, parents become desperate to find the cure or the right treatment. In their quest, they often forget that their child is just a child and that the disability is only one aspect of the child. Nothing is wrong with searching for ways to help children with disabilities learn and achieve more and live enriched lives, but this search must be balanced with love and acceptance of individuals with disabilities for who they are and who they are to become.

An unintended message of rejection can be sent to children when parents keep searching for ways to improve the child — and to eliminate his or her disabilities. Teachers can also create such unintended messages with their attitude toward their students with disabilities. A teacher might say, "If only she were like Max, the other student with Down syndrome I had in my fifth-grade classroom. He was able to sit and do his work, unlike Marianne." Such comparisons are not only unfair but also potentially devastating to children's sense of self. Everyone is an individual, and the pace of learning varies across children, regardless of whether they have a disability.

"The perception that some children are typical and others who have disabilities need to be repaired in some way is still a concomitant of a society that values uniformity rather than diversity" (Kunc, 2001, p. 89). Prejudice and discrimination against people because of their race, religion, age, gender, and other characteristics is not an inherent problem within the individual being rejected but rather a problem in the attitude of the accusers. In other words, people with disabilities do not need to change; people's perceptions of and attitudes toward them need to change. Such changes in attitude toward people with disabilities will not come as a result of legislation, litigation, or even government paving the way but rather through daily contacts and interactions with people with disabilities and their families. As a result, parents and teachers carry an enormous responsibility to model respectful interactions that allow children with disabilities to be who they are and to achieve their greatest potential.

During my first year as a special education teacher, I had a 3–year–old girl named Sh

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Table of Contents


Introduction
  1. Celebrating Abilities
  2. Federal Laws and Court Rulings
  3. Age-Related Services and Supports
  4. Friendship Development
  5. Assessment and Curriculum Modifications
  6. Problem Solving and Collaboration
  7. Transition to Adult Life

References
Resources
Index

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