Listening to the Experts: Students with Disabilities Speak Out / Edition 1

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What's the best way to find out what really works and doesn't work in education for students with disabilities? Listen to the experts: the students themselves. In this one-of-a-kind book, students with a wide range of disabilities give readers a rare inside look at their past and present school experiences, both in self-contained classrooms and in inclusive environments. With uncensored candor and insight.

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Editorial Reviews

Cathy Ficker Terrill

"This book is a must read for self—advocates, families and educators. It's all about belonging in your school community."

VOYA - Laura Panter
The importance of serving the needs of students with disabilities is evidenced in this book not with respect to what is required by law but in terms of how students benefit from interaction with other students and teachers. This true, heartfelt account of students' experiences in the classroom describes their frustrations as well as their triumphs. The key message that these students want to impart to teachers is the need to listen to their needs and not assume specific teaching methods are beneficial to the student. Students with disabilities need to be included in regular high school life, from attending inclusion classes to going out to lunch with their peers. Several chapters touch on the teachers' reactions in adapting their classrooms to include special education students, candidly revealing their misconceptions and their creativity in forging a comfortable environment for all students. The chapters alternate among essays written from the perspectives of students, parents, and educators. The emotions portrayed in this collection will encourage educators to support inclusion. Although much of the information does not cover new ground for inclusion classrooms, the teaching methods and socialization of students will give educators an insight into the types of methods being used that are achieving positive results in an inclusion program. This book is an essential piece of literature for educators working in inclusion classrooms. It also presents an excellent model system for administrators considering the reorganization of their special education programs to include students with disabilities as part of the mainstream curriculum.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557668363
  • Publisher: Brookes Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Frances R. Duff, M.A., is a National Board Certified Teacher with more than 25 years of experience in the classroom. She earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from New York University and her master's degree in special education from the University of New Mexico. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree at the University of New Mexico. Ms. Duff has worked with various grade levels in New York, California, and New Mexico. She currently co-teaches three inclusive classes at the high-school level. Her research interests are inclusive practices, legal issues, and advocacy and empowerment for students. Ms. Duff enjoys reading and playing with the family dog, Bear.

Dr. Keefe received her bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the United Kingdom, her master's degree in anthropology at the University of Nebraska, and her master of arts and doctoral degrees in special education from the University of New Mexico. She has taught in inclusive settings at the elementary level and now is actively involved in various educational reform issues throughout New Mexico. Her research interests include inclusive practices, co-teaching, and systematic change at the school level. Dr. Keefe enjoys tennis, playing banjo with ther band, going to Jamaica, and reading.

Dr. Moore coordinates the dual license teacher preparation program at the University of New Mexico. In addition to teaching at the University of New Mexico, Dr. Moore co-teaches and inclusive class one period per day at the high school level. Her research interests include peer supports, student voice, inclusive practices, and curriculum modifications. She enjoys traveling, playing tennis, and gardening.

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Read an Excerpt

Excerpted from Chapter 10 of Listening to the Experts: Students with Disabilities Speak Out, by Elizabeth B. Keefe, Ph.D., Veronica M. Moore, Ph.D., and Frances R. Duff, M.A.

Copyright © 2006 by Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Hate crimes, prejudice, and discrimination are words you think of when you look back in history. Those are not words commonly used in the year 2003, or are they? The words may not be heard as often, but the actions behind them are still clearly present in our environment. Discriminating against people because of their physical disabilities seems to me to be the worst type of discrimination. It denies all of us the ability to nurture friendships.

In my senior year of high school, I have made a new very close friend who just happens to be in a wheelchair. I had never seen this girl for the 3 previous years that we both have attended the same high school. At the beginning of the semester, Farrah showed up in my senior humanities class. Where had she been? I wondered. Her huge electric chair was not easy to miss, especially in the crowded halls of our overcrowded school.

As we got to know each other better, she and I discussed our experiences at our high school. I found out there was another "world" behind the main building where a collection of portable classrooms defined the boundaries for many students with disabilities. It was as if she and I had attended school in different hemispheres. My outrage was tempered by her courage and strength. She developed a fierce determination to overcome the obstacles that were put in her path because of her disability. She told me stories about students and teachers who had been mean and hateful to her just because she is in a wheelchair.

During a recent fire drill, we became aware of the contrast between Farrah's respectful behavior and the rudeness of others. Not one student or teacher from any other class paused to let us pass or held the door for us. Fortunately, the students in our humanities class were gracious and efficient in helping us evacuate the building. When we returned to the classroom, we discussed our experience. Our teacher, who had been walking with another student who is in a wheelchair, remarked that a fellow teacher pushed his way in front of the chair in order to go through the door first. Needless to say, in his self–centered hurry, he didn't pause to hold the door open behind him. Our class was able to talk openly about the unfair treatment of our classmates with disabilities, whom we had just recently met and were just beginning to recognize as friends. Disabled and nondisabled students alike—we were all in this together.

As a class, we conducted accessibility surveys and disability simulations to understand our school environment a little better. Some of the places where we liked to hang out were unavailable to some of our friends because their wheelchairs couldn't make it through narrow spaces, or over rough terrain, or up a short flight of steps. Even the snack bar counters were too high for a kid in a wheelchair to order a slice of pizza and a soda.

Our close circle of friends now included two other students, Aimee and Abby. Together with Farrah and me, they recognized the often hidden prejudice against a student with a physical disability. Some people seemed to express the idea that just because Farrah was in a wheelchair she couldn't be a "normal" teenager. One incident in particular of not–so–subtle segregation stands out in my mind. It occurred about 2 months into our senior year. Surprisingly, or maybe not, it involved teachers and administrators, not students.

Our high school campus is closed except for seniors. For our first 3 years of high school, we were relegated to the school cafeteri

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Table of Contents

About the Editors
Foreword: Thinking About Experts and Expertise
Douglas Fisher

Introduction: Breaking the Silence
Veronica Moore, Frances Duff, and Elizabeth Keefe*

I. The Importance of Student Voices

  1. Why Can't They Figure It Out?
    Elliott Shelton
  2. A Parent's View
    Katherine Shelton
  3. The Human Rights Basis for Student Personal Empowerment in Education
    Ruth Luckasson*
  4. Why Educators Need to Incorporate Student Voices into Planning: Reviewing the Literature
    Veronica Moore*
  5. Stop Asking Me if I Need Help
    Angela Gabel
  6. Live to Ride
    Gary Hartzog
  7. If You Want the Fire, Just Reach Deep in Your Heart
    Carson Proo
  8. Growing Up with Carson
    Victor Proo
II. Friendships and Support
  1. Who's That Girl
    Farrah Hernton
  2. Taking Farrah to Lunch
    Michelle Murray
  3. "We Don't Need a Wheelchair Lift...We Have Football Players": Transformational Experiences in Inclusive Education
    Sherry Jones*
  4. One Look, One Smile, and Two People
    Erin Pitcher
  5. This Is Why!
    Heather Curran
  6. This Is Me
    Chad Schrimpf
  7. Effective Peer Supports
    Susan R. Copeland*
  8. Connecting Across the Community: Pen Pals in Inclusive Classrooms
    Veronica Moore, Carolyn Metzler, and Stacey Pearson*
III. School Implementation
  1. This Is Their School
    Stanley Agustin and Elizabeth B. Keefe*
  2. He Called Me Duffy
    Frances Duff*
  3. We Can Do More Things than We Can't Do
    Phillip Contreras, as told to Veronica Moore
  4. It Has Nothing to Do with Being Smart
    Alex Weatherhead
  5. Differentiated Instruction
    Frances R. Duff*
  6. Struggling to Succeed
    Breanna Ortiz
  7. It's More than Just Paragraphs
    Jeremy Mallak
  8. On the Road to Co-Teaching at the High School Level
    Erin Jarry, Eddie Castro, and Frances Duff*
  9. Living in a Separate (but Gifted!) World
    Amanda Goshorn
  10. The Evolution of an Inclusive Elementary School: A Principal's Journey
    Bea Etta Harris*
IV. Thoughts for the Future
  1. Honoring Student Voice Through Action Research
    Kathryn Herr*
  2. What's Next for These Youth?
    Ginger Blalock*
  3. Am I in the Wrong Class?
    Amanda Funicelli
  4. The Ultimate Goal
    Kelsey Holmes
  5. Imagine the Possibilities
    Frances R. Duff, Elizabeth B. Keefe, and Veronica M. Moore*
*Scholarly Chapter
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