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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Well Worth The Read

Paul Daugherty's 2009 Keynote Address at the Remarkable Families Symposium should be required reading for all who work with children who have special needs...including parents!

It's a great reminder to "Expect. Don't accept."

Mr Daugherty has a daughter with Down syndrome. Here are a few excerpts from his keynote address, but you really should read the whole thing.

People look, but they don't see. People, and I'm talking qualified professionals, people trained in special education, too often don't look at Jillian and see possibility. They look at a child with Down Syndrome. They don't see who she can be. They conjure a stereotype. It's easier that way.

We never say never. Never is not a word. It's a self-defeating state of mind.

We have to change the way people think before we can change the way they act. Altering perceptions is like breaking a stone with drops of water. It can be done, if you're willing to take the time.

And a reminder for parents:

All any of it required, at base, was a disbelief in limitations. She can't learn? No, you're not willing to let her try. As parents, we cannot let that go unchallenged, not ever. We owe our kids that much. Expect, don't accept.

Do not give in to those who would ignore their better natures, because it's easier to retain a stereotype than change it. Change requires work, but it's the only way we improve as human beings. When people resist change, protest. Scream real loud. Give 'em hell. Don't let them tell you what your kid can do. Expect, don't accept.

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Ann said...

Thank you, thank you for this incredible link. The speech had me cheering, crying, and saying, "Amen!" If you don't mind, I'm going to share the link on FB.

my family said...

just read it. How well said, I may post this on my blog too

The Henrys said...

This is well timed for me! I haven't even read the whole thing yet, but so far it seems great and something that I may share with my daughter's school!