Inspiration—When you Give it, You Get it

Friday night in Grapevine, Texas. I unload my books onto the table within the large conference room named the Texas Grande Room. I see my friend Mardra, she’s such an amazing advocate and a much more talented writer than I can ever imagine to be—I once again...

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California Inclusion Resources

I find I’m sharing the links in this blog on a very frequent basis. And because I’m lazy, I decided to write this so I can refer to one place for parents of children in California who are fighting for inclusion…when it shouldn’t be a fight at all. First thing you must...

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Sean Wasn’t Born This Way–Fighting for Inclusion, Articulate Speech, and Appropriate Behavior

I’ve enjoyed the many private messages I’ve received since the show Born This Way aired.

Because I find myself repeating many of the same things I’m going to include the info here so anyone who missed it will be able to find it. (OK, I’m lazy and don’t want to type the same things over and over)

Fighting for Inclusion, Articulate Speech and Appropriate Behavior–all challenges we faced.

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Born This Way on A&E

Encourage not only your friends and family, but also your Educators, OB’s, Geneticists and employers to watch Born This Way featuring 7 Adults with Down Syndrome

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Communication Charts Provide Parents With Tools to Gain More Supports

Most parents see this and they immediately want to curl into a ball and disappear. They immediately believe their child’s placement will be questioned, or that this was ‘evidence’ that their child doesn’t belong in an inclusive classroom.

I see it much differently–this teacher just told the mother IN WRITING that her child is having a hard time with transitions! 

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Adult Lessons in Independence

As Sean explores the new things available to him as a 21 year old adult, we are enjoying the discovery as well.  Sean doesn’t really like beer, but he orders a beer at a restaurant because he wants to show his ID to the waiter.  He orders O’Douls—because Dad...

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Sequel Who’s the Slow Learner? Adventures in Independence Is Published!

Adventures in Independence is the story of Sean McElwee’s journey into independent adulthood. It is a story unique to Sean, his parents Sandra and Rick, and the village that supports him, but it is also a story recognizable to many. It is about the love of parents willing to do whatever it takes to make a better life for their son – told through a series of poignant and often hilarious anecdotes.

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What to Say

    Since this is Sean’s birth week, I wanted to share what happened after we found out he had Down syndrome.       Rick had to call the person doing our birth announcements with Sean’s stats: “9 pounds 3 ounces, 21.5...

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Becoming A Parent…To a Child with Disabilities

Becoming a parent to a child with disabilities isn’t so different to becoming a parent to any child. You go into labor, push, push, push.  End up with a C-Section anyway, but in the end, there is a baby.  The baby is a baby, he’s my baby. I love him more...

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Pass It On

Sharing what you have learned and articles, and information that support your philosophy with the educators can go a long way to fostering their support for inclusion. I took handouts from seminars I attended, articles about inclusive topics, evidence-based research...

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Life’s a Beach…well, it was

Behavior equals communication. Behavior equals communication. Behavior equals communication.  People with intellectual disabilities do not choose to have bad behavior. There is some reason when their behavior changes. Sean chose to stop attending his Transition...

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Fight With Evidence that Inclusion is Best

     Since Who’s the Slow Learner? A Chronicle of Inclusion and Exclusion has been out I have heard from many parents who are still struggling even at the kindergarten level with gaining acceptance by their school districts to include their children...

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What People Are Saying

Ok…the book hasn’t even been out for a week yet, but I am getting a few emails and posts on Facebook that are making me breathe easier. By writing a book, you really put yourself out there. It’s a risk…will people like it? Will they learn from it? Will they be entertained?

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Where Did the Title, and the Idea for the Book Come From?

     I’m a big fan of the Blue Collar Comedy guys and love Bill Engvall’s “Here’s Your Sign” stories and Jeff Foxworthy’s “You Know You’re a Redneck…” bits.  Sean has always outsmarted all of us adults.  I frequently explained to his teachers...

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First Opportunity to Purchase Books!

Sean and I will be presenting at the Care and Kindness Conference in Mission Viejo, California on February 8th.  We will have books for sale and will both be signing them!  Many fabulous speakers, we are honored to be presenting at the same conference with...

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IEP Goals Must be Meaningful and Measurable

     Be sure the IEP goals are meaningful to the student.  When Sean was a Senior in high school the Occupational Therapist gave us the final report and discharged him from OT. He still could not button buttons.  He had ruined a couple of...

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Principles of Inclusion

So, what is so different between Inclusive Education in the neighborhood school in a Regular Education classroom versus a Special Education classroom in a central location away from your neighborhood with everybody being taught at their supposed level of learning?...

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IEP Tips

Some things I learned over the years, you get more bees with honey than with vinegar. So we brought food to the IEP meetings! If it was an afternoon meeting, we brought cookies–and if I was home, I baked them right before the meeting–they smelled great and were still warm. For morning meetings, we brought bagels and cream cheese.

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IEP is the Blueprint

     The Individualized Education Plan is the blueprint for success. The only legitimate focus of an IEP meeting is on the special needs of the student and how those are to be addressed. If the student is not present at the IEP meeting a...

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Long Term Goals

When Sean was in elementary school he very seldom attended his IEPs. That changed in high school where he was present at most all of them.  To keep HIM and our Long Term Goals for him as the center of focus we brought copies of a Long Term Goals sheet and passed...

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Santa’s Helper

When Sean was 16 we were looking for volunteer opportunities for him.  This was a requirement of the UCLA Pathways College Program for adults with disabilities.  The DSA of Orange County hosts a Breakfast with Santa every year for parents to bring their...

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Amazing Angel Wings

16 years ago Sean was one of the Wise Men (in blue) in our church’s children’s choir performance.  The rehearsals left off the wings for the angel, so the first time Sean had seen her wings was on stage.  He couldn’t take his eyes off those...

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