Monday, April 21, 2014

Dear People sitting across the table

  Dear  People  sitting across the  table,

             You  guys are   gathered around a table for  a  school meeting of a student that  struggles.    Maybe  they   have  a intellectual  disability or a  behavior issue but  you are about to meet with that student and  their families to  talk about   the upcoming school  year.  I am that bad  student.   I  was the one  no one  wanted  to teach.  I was "the hardest student  I had ever had to  teach".    I  am now that adult  who  is  hardest   to teach.   I have  been those meetings and boy they are not  fun.

         Can I ask  you  guys around the  table  for a favor.  Can you  please   remember that every  person has  both a good and bad side to them.  Can  you  please   remember that    students like  me are not future  inmates  or  horrible   people  headed  nowhere.     We are more then  IQ scores or  how inteligble   our speech  is.

   Can  I  remind you that their  is no  alternative   to inclusive  education.     It is the  law  for a reason      No  research  has found that segregation  what  you  guys   call " a program" or " special  day  class"  is a better option  even  for  those with serve  disabilities.   LRE  says  that  students like me  should be  educated  for the most amount of time  among  peers  who do not have disabilities  using the rights supports and services and  if  all the supports  fail  first then is it ok  to   remove to a  more restrictive environment    That is the law.  No one should have to prove that they are worthy  of an education and everyone  learns at a different  pace.

    Dear  people  at the other  end at a  table  in an  IEP  meeting.   Before you  start ,  please  look into the  parents and  child  eyes.   Everyone has a story.   The parents   probably  have experienced  a lot of heartache  over  their  disabled child.     Most people  do not  want a  disabled family  member and   it is quite  possible  that  there was a  time when the child was  small  that they cried  for their  child's future.   You  may  be able  to go  home  and  back  to your  lives , but  the child's  parents  have to   see the child that  night.   Please make it easy for them to  see their child  that night.  If all you do  is   remind  said  parents that there  child is  rude and disruptive.  They  will have to go home and become  the cop to the child.  This  will  undoubtly   make the  student self esteem  suffer immensely which  will  lead to  more  bad behavior and  their  believing that  they are  bad people.  

Instead  of  calling it bad behavior  why  not  say"  Jimmy  is  confused  by the social  new-ounces  of  classroom  life.   Can  we  all  work together to  try to  teach  him  social  skills  so  he  can    get along in life."    It is a lack of  skill  not bad behavior.    Students are not bad if they  do not  understand  an Algebra  concept, nor  should  they  be  called  bad if they  do not understand   how  to  behave in class.        

   One last thing.   No  one has a crystal  ball so  try  not to  predict the  future  thanks.


  A  young person that  lacks  social  skills, and
  has  a  strong love of  learning.

   image  url

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How I celebrated CP day

  Hay  guys  so sorry  long time  no  blog.  I have  been discouraged about the lack of comments  but now  i am  back.  I wanted to share with you what I did  for national CP  day.

  My sister  made cookies that I  took to my program.  ( I am not in school  this semester but I may be in school in the Fall  we  have to see).   The  program
am  was tempory and  now  i am  done  with the program.

  I  went to  program in my  green  clothes and hat.  It was   cold that day  so  I  wore a  long white t shirt   under  my  HOPE  t shirt.  After  program  I  went to  pizza  and then  took the bus home.  I had a fun day.

    A fellow   Ceep,  person  with CP made this  video.  It was so nice to see many people  wearing green to support us.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Solution is Inculsion

                One of my earliest memories come from when I was in  preschool.   I have a few memories, but the one that stands out  is  when on a playground on a  elementary school  campus. The  teacher yelled , " The  big kids are coming."  Now  she could have yelled  that the big kids are coming for two reasons  One  that   we were preschoolers and  when you are that little a  seven  year old is a "big kid" compared to you.   Or   it could have  been that  all the kids  on the playground, including myself,  were disabled.    I  attend a county  preschool  special needs class.  That ment that most days I rode a small  yellow bus to and from school  I  was met by others that had special needs.  Some  were hearing impaired  others were in wheelchairs, I was in a speech impaired class as talking was, and continues to be,  a huge moments  task for me.If I spoke clearly, I would try to do a Ted talk on inclusion. Since I don't talk clearly, a blog post I will write. I am able to write it because I was included and learned how to write essays.

         Special  education classes  are  the biggest diservice to students with disabilities  today. That is a pretty  bold statement .   But  so  all these.

  34%  of  people with  intellectual disabilities are employed 
  In 2012,   12% of   people with any disability  had a  BA or higher. 

 How  are thses   outcomes  OK  for students. How  can  we commit one  more youngster to  these  same "programs" that  produce these result.      Obviously we have  failed  people with disabilities but  is inclusion  the   answer.   I   argue that it is because I was included  in school.

    I was included  right from  birth.  My parents  did  not  spend an hour a day with me then  leave to  take care of my seven year old brother.  Could you  imagine if a parent did that.  That would be  child abuse.   If that is  child abuse,  Why  is it OK  for  elementary school kids to only be include for  specials( art music   PE  science and history) ?  The science and history  disappears  as an option  once students enter  middle school.  This  is not okey.  This is  denying  children access  to stories and math  games and other  things that kids are  doing.  I was in  general  education classes  and  we spent most of the day   doing reading and  math.   If  I were only  mainstreamed for science and social  studies, I would not   have had  writers workshop  or  reading Charlotte's Web, and  tile math.

   Speaking about other  kids,  Why  is ok to deny children with  disabilities access to neighborhood schools?     For  kids, schools are there first community outside their family, so  when we  bus kids to other places they do not get  to meet the  neighborhood kids. They do not  get to walk to school.    They  do not  see other kids  that they know in there local  supermarkets  or  REC Centers.   Isolation is  common amongst kids with disabilities.   So knowing this , why do school people routinely bus kids to other schools in there district    All  kids  that use public schools  should  go to the school in there neighborhood.

How  do we  teach kids  how   to be in  the community  when all they  know is isolation.  The answer  is not  to  take   secondary students  out in the community  during the school day.  The kids need to be in there local high school classes learning about the world around them.  Just like they would if they did not have a disabilities.  If they  need  work experience why not  try  to find it  within the high school community so they can feel connected to the school.  Could they work in the cafeteria once a week?  Could they mange the sports equipment physical education department?   Could  they be  messengers that work in the front office? Could they be teacher assistants?  Could they  be on student council ?    They can do all of these activities and more  to get job skills within their high school experience with help. Without ever  stepping off the campus  they can  work in there community.  When you are 16  your community is the high school.   I remember  being afraid when  I  started pre -k in a inclusive setting. There were more kids and different expectations.   I can not imagine  if I had spent my entire school carrer in a  special day  program then  transition into the community.  I  would have  been  lost.    My   transition into the community was made easier  by me  being in  inclusive education because   I   grew up  in  my community.   I learned about being in a community  by being part of  my school community.

          Parents  might tell me that there kid loves  being in the special day classes.   You know  what  ask any kid if they wanted to  go to all day dance and  most would like it. Ask  any kid  if they  want to go  ice skateing  for the day and  most  would  like it.  How  bout to see the latest    film.?    If that was there school  day then of course then most kids would love school, but they  are not  ready for  life.  This  is not education.    Education is all about learning.

  All the special needs classes that  I was in  did not have structure   The teachers  and students disrespected me.     Most  students with intellecual disabilities were segered,  so  when I showed up last year at university,  people  taught  that I was not intelligent    People   were surprised when I did well on tests.   I   really  do not  blame these stereotypes    I  am  willing  to bet  big bucks that  these  professors never  had a chancee to know   what disabilities  were.   Professors   never knew that  the disabled were capable of  greatness.   The  sad   part is a whole  generation of kids in america  are not  having the opportunity to  know different because of the system.    The system  needs to change.     Kids need to be  on the same  level to begin to falsify  these stereotypes    They can not do if they are helpers. They can not do it if   disabled kids are segregated.  They can only do  it when   the disabled student  is   just another kid in their classes  for the whole  day.    

  For those of  you that haven't  heard my story watch this

 What do you think?  I  want  to  hear from  you.   Please commet  before you leave/


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cerebral Palsy PARTY Day 17: National Cerebral Palsy Day

              Today  is the day to  wear green. Today  is the day  to spread hope  which is what I am doing with  help from  my mom.

 I  do not  hope that  there  will be a cure for CP because    I  am not suffering.  Honestly  do  I  look that  I am  suffering from CP.    I am  not  broken, therefore I do not need to  be fixed.   CP  is a part of who  I am.  Please  do  not pity me.  I am on  a adventure  called  life, which  includes CP.     I do have hopes for fellow  CPers.

Ten things I hope  that people  with  CP   have.

  I hope that kids with CP will have the chance to meet other  kids and adults with CP so they  will have     role modals.
 I hope that kids  with CP will  attend school  and  develop a love of learning.
 I hope that   people  with CP  will be valued  members of their families.
  I hope that people with CP  will be  valued  members of their community.
I hope that people with CP won't get bullied.
I hope that people with CP will find friends
 I hope that people with CP will enjoy life and have fun.
I hope that people with CP  won't always   have to prove that they are intelligent.
  I hope that people with CP will have  people  expect   greatness  from them.

    Ps  if you are  wearing  green  today.  Let me  know.     If you   want to send me a picture  of you or your   loved  ones  wearing  green.   Post a pic on my  AZ Chapman  face book page.  or email me   You could be  featured in a upcoming blog post.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cerebral Palsy party DAY 16: I love the snow

       Today's pics  come from   skiing at MT, Rose  NV.   We used to go up every President's weekend  and  go skiing. I love the snow.  I have not  been  in awhile  so  I am hoping to go back  perhaps next winter.

 Roesbuds   has a great adapted ski school,  I  was able  to get  private lessons.
 Pricy but worth it 

all business 

 carrying my ski

 book gal  AZ and Princess,

 Heading in,

 Remember to  wear  green  tomorrow for national  CP day. If you do   take a picture and send it  to me. You could be  on the blog   later this  week.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Cerebral Palsy Party Day 15: golfing

 Hay guys  so today's photo to end out the week  will be from the first time I played golf.  

 Ok so its not  real golf but  mini golf.    I really enjoyed  playing  here.  Besides  mini golf they had   go carts,  an arcade, and bumper boats.  This was a really fun center.  I  was sad when they had to close this fun-land. 

 I continue to play golf for Special Olympics  and  was on my high school golf team.   

 Don't forget to comment before you leave. 

PS  Happy  World Down Syndrome Day. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cerebral Palsy Photo Party Day 14: Grandma says

 This  is an old  post but its   too good  not to  re share.  My  grandma  wrote something last year on my blog for CP month.  Reposting in case you missed it.

 I make this attempt to organize my thoughts and perceptions on electronic paper regarding my grand daughter, AZ Chapman,  who has had to work hard to accomplish some things that so many of us take for granted.

When AZ was born with CP it was unexpected;  it has also been a learning experience for the family as well as for her,  during these years of her babyhood,  then childhood, then becoming a young woman.  

One thing this remarkable young lady has shown us is how perseverance in the face of difficulty can accomplish a whole lot in life.  Though not confined to a wheelchair like many people with CP,  AZ  does have to deal with some difficulty in physical coordination.  Her determination and perseverance have given her the freedom / independence of being able to walk to a small shopping center near home,  to take the bus and to successfully attend college.  

I know it has often been frustrating for AZ when her body resists cooperating with her mind,  and I am grateful for the helpful therapy made available to her.   Mind over matter is not the easiest thing in the world, especially as a battle prolonged over your entire life!   The wonderful improvement in her speech shows how hard she has worked.  

Awareness:  being conscious or perceptive.  Being conscious of the difficulties and hardships of cerebral palsy can demand a lot of focus.  It could be easy to make it the whole focus of your life and develop a real pity party attitude or use it to manipulate others around you.  Happily for AZ,  her parents and her siblings and even Zoe  ( the family dog )  remind her daily that she has her own chores and responsibilities like everyone else in the family.   The empathy and compassion that AZ  has grown to have for others with a handicap are shown in her work with Special Olympics and in her postings on FB.  

We all have difficulties and hardships;  we all have our perceptions and feelings,  we all have our ups and downs in life.  We are all human and have our individual things to deal with.  I find it admirable that those with some of the harder problems develop such determination and perseverance and empathy for others.

   Don't  forget to commet  before you leave.