|What Matters: Reflections on Disability, Community and Love
Edited by Janice Fialka
This is the story of Micah, who has an intellectual disability, his community, and his ground-breaking journey to full inclusion in K-12 schools, college, work and life. It is told by Micah, as well as his parents, his sister, friends and colleagues in essays, poems and interviews. Despite such labels as “low I.Q.”, “unemployable” and “not-a-student,” the book powerfully chronicles how Micah was fully included since elementary school, and later, how he challenged discrimination in the federal court, and won, how he moved 300 miles from his home to became a teaching assistant at Syracuse University, and most recently, how he survived heart surgery.
|Parents and Professionals Partnering for Children With Disabilities: A Dance That Matters
By Janice M. Fialka, Arlene K. Feldman and Karen C. Mikus’ Foreword by Ann P. Turnbull
Written from both the parents and the professional’s points-of-view, this book is rich with stories, examples, and practical suggestions. Using dance as a metaphor, the authors provide a developmental approach to understanding and forging positive adult relationships while showing concrete ways to advocate for and with children.
|Through the Same Door: Inclusion Includes College (DVD)
A Film by Paul Rossen (25 minutes)
Winner of the 2006 TASH Image Award, this inspiring film documents the new movement of fully inclusive education by exploring one young man’s desire for a life without boundaries. As a high school student, Micah wanted the college experience, and he got it. See how it’s done, learn how it works, and witness how Micah’s journey challenges us all to reexamine what we believe possible.
|Whose Life Is It Anyway? How One Teenager, Her Parents, and Her Teacher View the Transition Process for a Young Person with Disabilities
co-authored by Janice Fialka, Martha Mock, and Jenny Wagner Neugart
This publication is a unique exploration of the emotions and relationships between three key transition partners: Becky, the youth; her mother, and her teacher. It includes talking points for group discussion about relationship building and best practice in adolescent transition. Outcomes include helping all partners raise expectations about what youth with special health care needs can achieve, how to meaningfully involve youth in the process and ultimately, how to better understand each participant’s perspectives.
|From Puddles to PRIDE: A mother’s poems about her son, his disability, and her family’s transformation (CD/PowerPoint)
by Janice Fialka; music written by Stefan Kukurugya
Janice has recorded three of her poems on this CD with stunning original piano music written by Stefan Kukurugya, and powerful visuals, photos, and graphics. The CD can be played at parent gatherings, professional trainings and workshops, to begin a meeting, or in the quiet of one’s own home.
Some of Micah’s Favorite Organizations
- The Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education – Housed at Syracuse University, the Taishoff Center works to advocate for and include all students in higher education through programs, training, consulting, and research.
- InclusiveU – For students of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities who want to experience college life in a fully inclusive setting to Syracuse University.
- Kids as Self Advocates (KASA) – National grassroots project created by youth with disabilities for youth
- National Youth Leadership Network – The National Voice for Young Leaders with Disabilities
- The Nth Degree – A catalog by Dan Wilkins of great articles, buttons, t-shirts, posters, etc. and the quote: “A community that excludes even one of its members is not a community at all” (this poster hangs in Micah’s dorm room)
- Norman Kunc & Emmma Van der Klift (Broadreach) – Great articles on disability and inclusion, the DVD: Credo for Support and Micah´s mom´s poem “Puddles to PRIDE”
- ThinkCollege! – The best place to learn about colleges for individuals with intellectual disabilities
- Transition to College – Information and resources on college options for students with intellectual disabilities
- Communities of Power – A great source of information about issues of importance in Michigan’s Disability Community
- Disability Social History Project – A community resource history project that provides information about famous activists in the disability movement, a disability history timeline, and other related information
- Inclusion Press International – Resources, materials, books, and workshops on inclusion, Circle of Friends, MAPs, PATHS, and other related information.
- Dance of Partnership – Information on the dance of partnership between parents of children with disabilities and professionals who work with them.
- Peak Parent – PEAK Parent Center provides training, information and technical assistance to equip families of children birth through twenty-six including all disability conditions with strategies to advocate successfully for and with their children.
Other Resources and Ideas
The concept of the Beloved Community is the foundation for Micah’s journey of inclusion. Micah ends every presentation with his favorite quote, from community activist Dan Wilkins: “A community that excludes even one of its members is not a community at all.” Fundamentally, the “Beloved Community,” as first envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is the radical notion that, through love, we can create meaning, value and community and that we have the capability to change the world. Grace Lee Boggs, one of Micah’s teachers, identifies that “we are the leaders that we have been waiting for.” No matter the struggle, through the courage of revolution and love, everyone can bring a positive change.
A Credo for Support is powerful video by Norman Kunc which offers a series of suggestions for people who care about and support someone with a disability. It prompts viewers to question the common perceptions of disability, professionalism, and support.”