I've known about vision statements and student portfolios for awhile now. I talk about their importance and encourage others to come up with a vision for their own children. I've just failed to sit down and write one myself. But as always seems to happen, I found myself in a position where I really needed a vision. I needed a way to articulate to those who are in the position of educating Wade what we want and expect for him. I shared this vision with everyone at the table at our most recent ARD meeting last week, and I plan on reading it before every ARD meeting in the future. I think it's a quick and easy reminder about why we are gathered at the table and who we are there for; we are there for Wade.
For more information about vision statements and student portfolios, visit Texas Project First. They have some sample portfolio pages. I used wording from a few different samples and molded them into our vision for Wade.
Our Vision for Wade
We have a vision for Wade; a vision that goes far beyond the walls of a school building. Our vision started out pretty simple, for Wade to be included. As the years have flown by our vision has begun to evolve into something even bigger. Not only do we want Wade to be included in his school, neighborhood, and community, we also want him to be a contributing and active participant in his own life.
It is also important to us that Wade be surrounded by people who love, support, and care for him in a way that fosters his independence without creating a sense of “learned helplessness”. We want Wade to be a part of a community where differences are accepted and attempts are made to educate those who may be fearful or ignorant with regard to the culture of disability. We believe that language and words are powerful and see value in using People First Language where Wade as a person is put before his disabilities. By modeling this language, we are attempting to eliminate the prejudice that surrounds those who have a disability while encouraging others to see past the disability. Wade is the amazing little boy he is because of his cerebral palsy; it is a part of him, but it does not define him.
As Wade’s parents, we are an integral part of the team that supports him and his education. It is vital that the lines of communication remain open and that the staff working with Wade support our vision for him. We cannot do this alone. It will take all of us working together to make school a place where Wade can be successful and thrive both academically and socially. Comanche Springs Elementary is part of the foundation Wade needs in order for him to achieve whatever dreams he desires. We are confident that when given the same opportunities as every other child, Wade will find his voice and be successful in school, community, and life.
“My identity is the product of my history. My history is that of a person with cerebral palsy. If I didn't have cerebral palsy, I wouldn't be who I am; I'd be someone else. Frankly, I like who I am, I like my history, I like my life. I'm not sure I'd sacrifice who I am for the sake of normal movement and speech.” ~ Norman Kunc