How do you know when to end a book titled Adventures in Independence? Because the adventures are truly just beginning and every day is an adventure as Sean’s Mom.  When I submitted the manuscript for Who’s the Slow Learner? A Chronicle of Inclusion and Exclusion it was over 600 pages long.  The publisher laughed and told me I had to cut it in half–they said it was longer than a textbook.  I agonized for months and asked advice from my literary friend Cristina Nehring what she thought I should cut.  She was a great help and suggested I take all of the chapters that covered Sean’s extracurricular activities outside of school and create another book.

Then it made sense to keep going past high school age since Sean was about to move out of the house, his transition program needed to be chronicled and his adventures when we weren’t supervising him were begging to be told. 

I am honored that Eric Latham of the Pathway at UCLA Extension wrote the foreword–he wrote: “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. It is also about how all the well-meaning intentions of professionals are just that, and too often end up making things more difficult. This book gives me, and hopefully many others, an important reminder that our individual decisions and collective systems have an impact on real people.”

Disability organizations are able to order 10 or more of Who’s the Slow Learner? Adventures in Independence–Who’s the Slow Learner? A Chronicle of Inclusion and Exclusion or My Name is Sean and I Have Something to Share  through the publisher Outskirts Press for the Author discount, and sell them at the retail price as a fundraiser.  Links to those pages for ordering are available at

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