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As I Am: True Story of Adaptation to Physical Disability

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Dr. Pirnot is a psychologist who worked for seven years with a quadriplegic-ventilator dependent boy of four who struggled to make sense of a world in disarray. Garret Frey learned that his mental powers could help compensate for the loss of body function. AS I AM is his and her story. She not only worked with Garret, but helped in taking his case for a good education up to the Supreme Court. It was a case that helped the legislation for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Karen is the author of a number of other sensitive books for children and adults, which she shall share. My interest in the disabled stems from my observations of the vast differences in students dubbed “normal.” Each usually has some brain or body function that doesn’t work as well as other functions and these smaller variations from the norm cause constant problems in clear communication and understanding of what is being taught. The one-size-fits-all concept in the delivery of lessons teachers can learn from the efforts of people like Dr.Pirnot as they try to bridge the gaps of understanding and compassion necessary to help students like Garret. Teachers need to see individuals. They need to appreciate that standing in front of a class and lecturing may be as outdated (and ineffective) as women’s bloomers. It is why I developed the Self-Sustaining Classroom that allowed me the time necessary to learn about each student while helping him/her be a part of the class. Keeping Garret in their mind should help in dealing with the uniqueness of each of their students.

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