Friday, April 22, 2011

Required Reading

Many moons ago, I ran camps for people with disabilities during the summer. I worked for the Arc (an organization that provides social and recreational activities for people with disabilities) for about 6 years and developed an enormous, enormous love for the children and adults I had the privilege of spending time with. Isn't it amazing how the Lord prepares us for the challenges we will face in life? Because of the time I devoted to camp, I was able to cultivate a better understanding and regard for children with autism even before I had my own.

I could go on, but the point is, if I ever run camps again (I hope to someday), I will require that all of my staff read Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. I just finished the novel and it was one of the most amazing, touching, revealing books I have ever read. Obviously (since I mentioned camp) it is about a girl with a disability, specifically cerebral palsy, and the conclusions those around her make because she cannot communicate verbally. It literally made me question everything I've ever assumed about those with special needs. I especially wonder what I don't understand about the way Jakson processes the world and the inferences I constantly make about him and the reasons for his behavior.

It is such a quick read and can be found in your library's juvenile or young adult section. Five stars and two thumbs up.

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