Saying “Yes” to creating a program for students with developmental disabilities has changed my life in many ways. It has brought me joy and laughter, made me a stronger teacher, and expanded my problem solving skills. I’ve been challenged to think critically, to re-invent the way I teach dance technique, and to learn a lot about a whole new community of students. You can do it too! You can Say Yes in 2018 and include ALL students in your classroom! I’m here to help.
A quick disclaimer though – Writing blogs about dance instruction is hard so I ask for your compassion in advance:
- Language: Preferred language changes very quickly and I do my best to stay current. I fully believe in People-First Language (this means that you say “students with Down syndrome”, instead of “Down syndrome students”) and will try my best to always use it. It’s true that people are more than their disabilities and using People-First Language ensures that you communicate that. I never intend to be disrespectful or offensive. If different wording is preferred in future blogs, then please send me a polite comment and I am happy to adjust.
2. Comparisons: It has become taboo to compare people with developmental disabilities to people without disabilities. Many campaigns and journalism sites suggest to just not do it. Unfortunately on this site, I feel that comparisons are necessary to help teachers learn. I assume that teachers already know how to teach dance to students without disabilities but need more information to help students with developmental disabilities thrive in their classroom. I do not intend to say that one group is better than the other, but to simply point out similarities and differences in order to give teachers the information they need to be inclusive.
3. My Writing: Like I said before, I’m not an experienced writer – I’m only blogging to share information. I find it hard to describe my process in general (let alone on paper/computer) so if something you read is confusing, please let me know and I’ll update it.
With that said . . .
I’m so excited to help you experience the joy and reward
that I have from saying “Yes”!
I hope to take out some of the intimidation in starting a program for students with developmental disabilities and to make it easier for teachers around the world to say “Yes” to ALL students. I am happy to help answer questions, give feedback or ideas, and listen regarding concerns in your classroom. Overall, I hope to develop a more understanding, inclusive, and compassionate world that celebrates uniqueness!
Say Yes in 2018!