As many of you know, I published an I See ABILITY book a while back. I had been talking about writing a book for years before I took a summer to do it. I was first inspired to write a book about the amazing abilities of my brother David, who has Down syndrome. I also wanted to honor the other many gifted children I’ve worked with.
My Initial Inspiration for the Book
I took my first steps in writing the book after I was in hospital waiting rooms waiting for tests and surgeries to be done on my former spouse, who was going through kidney failure and an eventual kidney transplant. They say the deepest revelations come through tough situations. It’s true too for me. As I sat alone and frightened at the medical events going on, I thought of David. His strengths spoke to me. Strengths of joy, peace, faith, and love. I realized he was much more gifted than me in these ways. Thoughts of him brought me love and comfort. It was from then on that I knew I needed to write a book that acknowledged the gifts of those who had disabilities and have graced my life with inspiration to keep going, even in the toughest hours.
Discomfort People Experience When They See a Person with Disabilities
A frustration of mine growing up with David was that I couldn’t get across to people how amazing it was to be with David. There are assumptions and discomfort that happen when people see someone who has an obvious disability. I admit, it even happens to me. I catch my own discomfort sometimes at not wanting to act differently at all with someone with a disability, so then I try too hard to move past the discomfort and an even weirder feeling occurs within me. People are funny creatures.
I feel by writing this book, I was able to address that discomfort myself and others experience when they’re around a person who has a disability. Much of that discomfort comes with not understanding how to always interact with that person or feeling not as confident in knowing the right way to communicate with that person that will make both the person and yourself comfortable.
I See Abilities Not Disabilities
If you are looking for a book that highlights the abilities of people, give it a look. The message is both simple and powerful. There is no mention of the diagnosis or disability to make the point that people do get caught on the question of “what does he/she have?” Instead of recognizing people first for their talents and gifts. I highly recommend my book to be both a great tool for visual learners, as well as a way to educate your students on diversity.
Exercises You Can Use to Further Child Development with My Book
As a way to get your students more involved in understanding and communicating with people who happen to have disabilities, here are some follow-up questions you can use after showing the book. Put out the exercise to your class to ask these questions in your head or to the person, and the questions can be things like, “What is your favorite hobby?” “What is your favorite story?” “What makes you happy, sad or excited?” “Who is your favorite teacher?” And “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
If you do try these exercises, I would love to hear how your students reacted and how they liked the book. Let me know your experience with my book by leaving a comment here. If you’re interested in purchasing the book for your classroom, please CLICK HERE.