Saturday, December 1, 2012

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

International Day of Persons with Disabilities  is being held on December 3rd, 2012. This year's theme is: Removing barriers to create an inclusive and accessible society for all . Many of the conversations on this blog have focused on greater accessibility for all and access in general to the types of activities, interaction and independence everyone needs to have. The rights and privileges of persons with disabilities continue to be compromised. Many countries including the United States have not ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities produced by the United Nations on December 13th, 2006. On Monday, November 26th, the United States Senate did pass a motion to ratify the Convention. Although for the most part, it received support, please take a look at the actual vote count. Vote Count.

Please take the time to engage in some learning activities, advocacy and discussion around these important issues. It saddens me that in this day and age, we are still struggling to ratify such documents which should build consensus not division. Every student should have a way to advocate on a regular basis for issues which are important to them and their community. Across the United States and especially in Massachusetts there is a strong focus on transitional services which include the development of skills associated with self-determination, self-advocacy and overall greater independence. I would include civics and the responsibilities of being an active citizen as well.

Ideas for your students:

1. Meet 1-2 times per year with local government to discuss issues and work on specific concerns together. 

2. Begin Human and Civil Rights training early.

3. Find creative and individualized ways to give a voice to each of your students so they can comment and discuss these issues both within structured activities but also at will. 

4. Build the language needed to discuss these issues early and systematically add to it each year (core words, core phrases & content specific vocabulary - see free symbol project for resources). 

5. Instructor Web has some great lessons and activities on all of these topics. 

Please share your thoughts and ideas! There are so many things we can do right now!

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