Hope to see you there.
Photo: Robert Pio Hajjar
Tiffani Lawton, OJTA
"Mark December 3 on your calendar to celebrate the 2010 International Day of People with Disabilities.
The City of Toronto, its community and business partners invite you to contribute to the event.
1. nominate local unsung heroes
2. submit your poems to the Invitation to Poetry
3. display your artwork at the Invitation to Art
The deadline for unsung heroes nominations, poetry and art submissions is Thursday, September 30, 2010.
Watch the video and find out what International Day of People with Disabilities means to participants, past recipients of the Unsung Heroes award, the poets and artists." (From Toronto.ca.)
[Watch for Robert Pio Hajjar, Founder of IDEAL-WAY, in the video.]
I was surfing the Net the other day and came across Cinnamon Edgar's website. I was immediately captivated by her photography and artwork. To be honest, I'm more than a little picky when it comes to art. I've been known to spend weeks scouring the nation for artwork for our home, only to give up in frustration.
But Cinnamon's paintings and photographs spoke to me on a visceral level. Her body of work is impressive, but for me, a painting or a photograph has to make me feel something beyond mere pleasure. To hang on my wall, or grace my desk, it must transport me to another world.
In short, Cinnamon's work has the artistic wow factor that I don't often find.
Florida Monthly Magazine did a feature on Cinnamon, along with 20 other "intriguing Floridians": "Born with Down syndrome, Edgar developed her love of art at the Marian Center in Miami Gardens, a Catholic school for children with developmental disabilities. Teachers encouraged her to pursue her interests and asked Edgar to paint or draw pictures for cards, special invitations or auxiliary fundraisers."
To read an article on Cinnamon in the Miami Herald, "Florida Keys artist doesn't let Down syndrome stand in her way", click here.
I've given you just a taste of her work, but to see more of her scenic note cards, photographs and watercolors, or to order from Florida Keys Art By Cinnamon, click here.
“I stopped and listened to him, and that was when my life changed,” says Daabous. “He just inspires people to the Nth degree.” "
“Rainbowland Autism Services (RAS) is a modern, innovative
and energetic organisation that demonstrates its passion
for helping families living with autism through its dynamic services and
commitment to global autism awareness. RAS strives to advocate for the human
rights of its families and promote community awareness and inclusion at
Three years ago, Allison and Shane Dix's three-year-old twin sons were diagnosed with autism, and their eight-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. "We had been talking a lot about how beautiful rainbows are because we had already established a family support group called ‘Rainbowland Play Time'. We thought it would be nice if the public associated people with autism with something so beautiful. We then spoke about having a special day for autism awareness and came up with. . . Autism Rainbow Day."
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Learn 2 Be Buddies blog made it easy for us. Just follow these simple steps:
On April 30, 2010, we can choose to celebrate the lives of autistic people living within our community.
("This video is a tribute to the adventures of Josh, who is autistic and is from England. Compiled by his father Phillip for Autism Rainbow Day, this video portrays his deep love for his son. "Autistic children are happy and can have fun doing day to day things. We are so blessed to have Josh. He is my whole world, and I would not change a thing,” Phillip says of his son. Samantha E., a 17-year-old autistic girl, is the singer on the track and gave permission to use it on this video. (Phil is raising money for his son’s school (Curnow is a large special school in Cornwall. They cater for children and students between 2 and 19 and all have severe learning difficulties (SLD), with many also having sensory or medical needs and prefound multiple learning difficulties. A number of their children/students have difficulties in managing their own behaviour resulting from their Autistic Spectrum Disorders) in England by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro this summer (June 25th to July 7th 2010). For more information, go to http://www.justgiving.com/phillip-wills.)
I loved the concept, but as my husband often says, what's not to love? Somehow I ended up at the Random Acts of Kindness site. After scrolling down their 100 Ideas for Kindness, I realized that it’s the little gestures that sometimes count the most. “Laughing out loud often, and sharing your smile generously”; and "Extend a hand to someone in need. Give your full attention and simply listen" are two examples that are easy to put into action.
“Fox 4 News is Working for You with an uplifting new series of stories. It's called "Pay It Forward," and we're giving you the chance to help change someone's life. Each week, FOX 4's Kathy Quinn shows us what happens when someone you don't expect steps up at just the right time to make someone else's life a little easier. You'll be amazed at the way you'll feel when you help us "Pay It Forward." "
So it occurred to me that my small gesture of the day could be a list of links that I think provide real value:
- Helpful blog posts from Beginning Reading Help.
- Tips for teaching personal hygiene in young children with intellectual disability. in young children with intellectual disability.
- Try This Tuesday: Showers of Independence Terri, author of Barriers, Bridges and Books, shares tips on hygiene. (‘Try This Tuesday’ is devoted to “sharing solutions that make life easier.”)
- Resources, support and help for the child with developmental disabilities. (About.com: Special Education).
- Procedures for Reducing Dental Fear in Children with Autism.
- Tips for Successful Haircutting, Autism Speaks:
- Differently Abled!: This web site is based on a guide that Amazon.com and Toys R' Us created. It is used to help people select toys for children with different abilities.
- Musical potty training for kids with autism.
- The President's Choice Children's Charity: Offers financial assistance to purchase equipment or services to families who have children born with disabilities.
- Canada Benefits Website: Government-wide information about benefit programs and services for individuals.
That’s it for now. I'll save the rest for another time.
What about you? Do you have a pay-it-forward idea? Or a handy tip that you’d like to share with us?
“Best Buddies is grounded in the belief that friendship is important to the development of all individuals and that for all people with intellectual disabilities friendship is a medium through which they can become a part of their communities… For a person with an intellectual disability, friendship helps to ease the isolation, disempowerment or loneliness that often deepens the challenges that he or she faces daily. By having a student friend, Buddies are able to explore their world with a peer who brings empathy, laughter and support.”
Of course, friends are essential when you’re hanging off the edge of a cliff by your fingernails.
“Although they have known each other for just a few months, Baldwin High School students Heather Paranada and Rachel Barrett know the true meaning of friendship. As peer buddies in the Best Buddies Chapter at Baldwin, they are part of Best Buddies Hawai‘i. Rachel is not only intellectually disabled, but she also has a condition called Kyphoscoliosis…[which is] a curving of the spine that causes a bowing of the back, with scoliosis, a condition in which the spine curves away from the middle, or sideways.”
Rachel was told she would need to have a “very difficult” operation. Rachel bravely traveled to the Shriners Hospital in Philadelphia, Penn., to undergo two surgeries. At their first meeting, Heather presented Rachel with a teddy bear, necklace and bracelet to take on her trip and comfort her throughout her surgeries. “I wasn’t able to say bye to her at the airport before she left, but I did call her to say goodbye and she was sad,” she said. “But I told her it’s not goodbye, it’s ‘see you later.’” “I’ve been emailing her since she left, and Mrs. Barrett has been updating all of us of Rachel’s condition,” she said. “Everyone at Best Buddies is really pulling for Rachel and awaiting her return to Maui,” said McCormick. “They are following Rachel’s progress very closely.” " [Excerpt from The Maui Weekly, by Sarah Ruppenthal.]
In the first post of this blog, I wrote that "Rob is a reminder to shine your light into every corner of your world. And don't be afraid to offer whatever gifts you have. The beauty contained in a simple act of love will transform every life around you."
Photo: Matthew Amos.
Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Dianne Ward and I am a literacy instructor for the Thames Valley District School Board in Woodstock. Throughout the years I have taught many different students with intellectual and physical disabilities. Each time a student walks through my door, I know there is a challenge for me as a teacher; overcoming these challenges is always a new adventure.
A lot of my students have a desire to learn and were never successful in a mainstream program. They were teased and told they couldn't do things that a normal person could do. The result is they have lower reading and math skills, as well as low self-esteem. Fortunately, I struggled through school myself and later realized that there are many different ways of learning. One of the ways I embrace this in my classroom is through creative projects, which allows my students to utilize skills that are taught in daily lessons.
A project that I would like to share with you that my class worked on was writing about a role model in their lives. All of the students had to think of somebody in the community which they found to be influential. After each student decided on a person, we began writing poems to thank and honour them. When the poems were completed, invitations were sent out to the role models, inviting them to an afternoon where each student read and presented a copy of their poems and a rose to them. Some of the role models that were written about included: a bus driver, a cleaning lady, a store clerk, a bowling alley manager, a minister, and a counselor, just to name a few. Listening to each story brought tears to my eyes as my students were able to convey not only genuine feelings but words that thanked their mentors for being supportive and being role models in their lives. All of the mentors treasured their poems. So many people from the comunity left our event feeling proud and honoured and said they will always cherish their personalized poem. One lady said it was the nicest gift that she had ever received.
Everyone can learn no matter what age or what disability you have; the key is if you want to.
My program relies on one-on-one teaching and volunteer instructors. Our materials are relevant to the students' lives and their everyday living. Learning is a difficult process and when it is compounded with intellectual disabilities, it is amazing what my students can do. Through the years we have had many highlights and every day brings a new situation. This is one of the many heartwarming stories that I have experienced through my 15 years of teaching and I know the years to come will bring me many more.
Photo: Chicago 2016 Photos