This is Carolyn. Like many kids her age, Carolyn loves animals, castles, and building with blocks.
She is helpful to her mom and dad and even to her baby brother.
Carolyn started a new school this year.
She thinks her teacher seems nice and she is getting to know her classmates.
The other students are curious about Carolyn because she uses a wheelchair.
Carolyn is a happy, energetic, caring first-grader who just happens to be in a wheelchair. She's excited to start her new year of school and make new friends. Yes I Can follows Carolyn on a typical day at home, at school, and even on a field trip She can do almost everything the other kids can, even if sometimes she has to do it a little differently.
Includes a Note to Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers with more information on discussing disabilities with children and helping them to build positive, empathic relationships.
From the Note to Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers:
Sometimes, even with answers to questions, some children continue to be reluctant to interact with a classmate with a disability. Encourage your children to smile and say hello. If you are a parent or caregiver, reach out to the parent of the child who uses a wheelchair and suggest a play date. Talk to your child about their reluctance. Help them put their worries into words. It can be easier to address specific worries or questions, like we did above, than an unspecified reluctance.
If you are reading this book because your child has teased or made fun of a classmate with a disability, remind them that all children have feelings and that their classmate feels hurt just like your child would if someone teased them. Model kindness toward people with disabilities. Demonstrate making eye contact with and saying hello to people in wheelchairs. With some basic information, and adjusting games and activities so that a peer with a disability can participate, young children can easily learn to make accommodations for peers with disabilities.
If you are fortunate enough to guide children in this process, they may surprise you with their motivation and creativity. The experience of working together to solve problems of playing with one another can allow a child in a wheelchair to feel included and provide a learning experience in empathy for classmates.
About the Author
Kendra J. Barrett, DPT, is a pediatric physical therapist who has worked in early intervention and public schools for eight years. She currently works in a public school for students age 3-21 with intellectual and physical disabilities. Yes I Can! is her first book. She lives in Maryland. Jacqueline B. Toner, PhD, is the co-author of several self-help books. She has been in private practice working with children, teens, and families for over thirty years. Dr. Toner earned her PhD from the University of Virginia and completed two post-doctoral programs (in pediatric psychology and adolescent medicine) at the University of Maryland Medical School. Dr. Toner also serves as lead facilitator and consultant on a project on medical ethics led by Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She is the mother of three grown children and lives with her husband in Baltimore. Claire A. B. Freeland, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice, working for more than thirty-five years with youth and their families. Interested in bringing the general principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy to families everywhere, she is the co-author of What to Do When It's Not Fair, What to Do When Mistakes Make You Quake, and What to Do When You Feel Too Shy. She lives with her husband in Baltimore. They have two grown children. Visit Dr. Freeland at www.clairefreelandphd.com Violet Lemay sampled many creative careers before arriving at her dream job: illustrating books for kids Violet has illustrated over twenty books, including Yes I Can!., a handful of which she also wrote. She lives in New York. Visit her at www.violetlemay.com and follow her on Facebook: @violet.lemay and Twitter: @violetlemay