Friday, September 2, 2011

Education Continuum

Cerebral Palsy never goes away. You have it from the day you are born until the day you die. Attorneys on TV tell you who to sue if your baby has it. There are charities that raise money for prematurely born infants many of which will be diagnosed with it. There are schools and centers that will provide rehabilitation and education . But as your child grows older, what kind of support does it get? Where is it coming from? That seems to be the strangest thing. Organizations that are picking out segments of a child's life. "We can only help your child if they are ages X through Y". What happens next? You go elsewhere. Or nowhere. But one thing is certain. Cerebral Palsy children become Cerebral Palsy adults. And they somehow disappear off the radar because perhaps they cannot drum up enough support and media attention. The only times that you hear of adults with CP is if they accomplished something amazing, or when something happens to them. Recently Gainesville newspapers reported that a Cerebral Palsy man was robbed. Where is the awareness, the support, the information about the needs of individuals with this condition as they grow older? The same is true about any permanent disability and all those age divisions seem artificial. Conductive Education is a good start. How effective it will be depends on a lot of factors (age, extent of disability etc), but chances are as they grow older children will remain affected one way or the other, be it about how society perceives them or how they go about enforcing their nights. The nature of the services they need will change from physical - you work with children to be as independent as they can be to assisting- you want to empower people as they are older. That's how I see the Jordan Klausner Foundation- as people's needs change over time we adapt to address them. It feels like an organic process, I call it, Disability 360". My friend called it Education Continuum, because it never stops, it just transforms. There can never be an artificial cut off point for anybody, because how can you cut off hope? CP is scary enough without having to worry about the future, where you are too old or too heavy to be dealt with. I want this to grow; There needs to be a model that we can adopt that provides those services, but then expands its footprint. It has to start somewhere, why not Gainesville?

Conductive Education is a method designed to allow individuals with Cerebral Palsy work around their disability, minimizing its impact through specialized rehabilitation. I want to use the same general goal: enable people to do things, limiting how CP affects them but using different tools. I guess that's why Joshua Kaller called this Education Continuum, because it's taking Conductive Education principles as a starting point and applying it beyond pedagogy and upbringing. I want use schooling and law and awareness both of their rights and others' of their needs to allow people with disabilities to be able to succeed in spite of their condition.

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