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BellaOnline's Children with Special Needs Editor

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November 1 2008 Children with Special Needs Newsletter


Here's the latest article from the Special Needs Children site at BellaOnline.com.

Disability is Natural - Featured Website
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art59148.asp
Kathie Snow is best known for her website and eNewsletter, both entitled "Disability is Natural". She is a marvelous resource for parents and professionals as well as policy makers who are dedicated to creating inclusive communities for children and adults labeled disabled.

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art59148.asp

Read about Kathie Snow, her family and presentations at:
http://www.disabilityisnatural.com/abouttheauthor.htm

Sometimes we meet people by chance or through providence who shine a golden light upon our paths. I take pleasure in sharing with you these words, that mean a great deal to me:

Johanna’s Top 10 Tips to Surviving the Last week of the 2008 Election (and preserving your Down syndrome support group at the same time)

1) The beauty of Down syndrome is that it’s an equal-opportunity diagnosis. Our children’s diagnosis brought us together—people of all political persuasions, economic classes, social classes, educational backgrounds, sexual orientations, ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and religious beliefs. We have something in common that folks outside of the Down syndrome community might not fully understand; this alone makes our group unique and worth preserving.

2) Elections come and go, but Down syndrome is for life. What choices can we make and how can we conduct ourselves now in order to preserve the well-being and civility of our Down syndrome support group after the election?

3) Many members of our Down syndrome support group hold political opinions exactly opposite of your own. It’s unwise to presume agreement.

4) Most, if not all, people in our support group have decided by now how they will vote (some may have voted already), and nothing said will likely change their minds.

5) Sweeping generalizations made by political pundits and absolutes that begin with “Democrats are all…,” “Republicans are all…,” “Libertarians are all…,” “Members of the Green Party are all…,” “Constitutionists are all…” and any post that includes charges of an Oligarchy, Socialism, Fascism, Marxism, greed, etc, not only are not persuasive in a mixed crowd but do not contribute to the long-term health, trust, and well-being of our Down syndrome support group.

6) Among our members, there are Democrats who are pro-choice and pro-life, as well as Republicans who are pro-choice and pro-life. It’s good to remember that the only ticket into our exclusive Down syndrome club is to have a child with Down syndrome. All of the members of our group support positive messages about Down syndrome, support Down syndrome awareness, and deeply love and value people with Down syndrome.

7) If we have the goal of preserving the integrity, safety, respect and compassion for members of our support group, it’s probably not a good idea to use divisive rhetoric generated by campaigns in posts. That type of rhetoric is crafted with the intention of shoring-up a base of people who are already in agreement and it’s not intended to be persuasive in a bi-partisan group.

8) It’s even more important in the forum of this online support group for people like us—parents of children w/ differences (in physical appearances and/or with intellectual differences) who are vulnerable to bullies—to model civility and tolerance of differences. We can discuss ideas and disagree without resorting to insults and forgetting that there are human beings behind those differences. If we act with intolerance and disrespect of others because of their ideas, values, and differences, that makes us bullies. I believe we, of all people, should be above that.

9) Generally speaking, venting and ranting in a post to the support group is contagious and counter-productive if we want to maintain civility in our group. We’re only human and all of us have done it, but it’s a good idea to resist the knee-jerk instincts that lead us to do it.

10) Everyone has something going on in their lives besides politics and you never know who or what it might be…in the middle of a health crisis, cheering on first steps, celebrating a birthday, receiving a new diagnosis, struggling with school issues, learning to read or potty train, getting laid off, worrying about a deployed family member, caring for an aging parent, single-parenting, struggling to pay rent or mortgage, working to connect with a significant other, celebrating milestones, growing their family, laying down new roots, burying a loved one, starting a new career, choosing new habits, etc., etc. Let’s see each other with empathy and vow to reconnect with our mission of supporting each other. There’s enough suffering and celebration to go around.

"Respect for opinions is not an easy art at all. It requires self-esteem, self-control, sensitivity, tolerance, fairness, and generosity."
--Dr. P.M. Forni, Professor at Johns Hopkins University and
Co-founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project.

Twenty Five Rules of Considerate Conduct:

http://sites.google.com/site/choosecivilityresourceguide/25-rules-of-considerate-conduct

Keep in mind, the same people you might be railing against in the election may be the same people first in line to bring your family a meal, give you a kind word and hug, and pass along a needed suggestion when the going gets tough for your family.

Building communities is about respect and civility. I believe our children are here to teach that, starting with us.

Thanks for letting me share this.

Johanna

Johanna Mattern Allen
"The best exercise for the human heart is reaching down
to lift someone else up." ~ Tim Russert

-------------

Please visit specialneedschildren.bellaonline.com or use your favorite search engine with your editor's name, Pamela Wilson, and your current topic of interest to find associated articles at the Special Needs Children website.

To participate in free, fun online discussions, this site has a community forum for comments, questions and discussion about raising children with special needs located here -

http://forums.bellaonline.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=57

I hope to hear from you sometime soon, either in the forum or in response to this email message. I thrive on your feedback!

Have fun passing this message along to family and friends, because we all love free knowledge!

Pamela Wilson, Special Needs Children Editor
http://specialneedschildren.bellaonline.com

Positive Behavior Support and Interventions - PBIS
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art58507.asp

Sleep Disorders and Children with Special Needs
http://http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art33877.asp

IEP Preparation - Teacher Support
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art44746.asp

Sensory Integration and Children
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art48942.asp

Disability and Future Planning for Parents
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art59032.asp

DIR Floortime Model Techniques
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art56206.asp

Teaching Children About Money
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art58960.asp

A Brand New Baby with Down Syndrome
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art51264.asp

Parent Child Interaction
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art58273.asp

Sarah Palin and Down Syndrome Awareness
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art58737.asp

Universal Design for Learning - Access
to General Education Curriculum
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art50363.asp

School Bus Rides
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art45298.asp

IDEA - Education Law
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art204.asp

Bilingual Children
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art51927.asp

Lack of Sleep and Rest for Caregivers
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art55033.asp

Book Review: Raising A Sensory Smart Child
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art57603.asp

Amazon Kindle Wireless Reading Device
http://www.www.bellaonline.com/articles/art58353.asp



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