Disability Awareness Month! (text only)
Santa Clarita Valley Special Education Local Plan Area
Disability Awareness Month
“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” –Christopher Reeve
Coordinating and providing community-based services to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
25360 Magic Mountain Parkway, Suite 150, Santa Clarita, CA 91355
Family Focus Resource Empowerment Center
The Family Focus Resource Center understands and strengthens families raising children with special needs through education, advocacy, and family support services.
25360 Magic Mountain Parkway, Suite 150. Santa Clarita, CA 91355
Child and Family Center
Providing comprehensive prevention, early intervention, diagnostic evaluation and counseling, behavioral therapeutic services, outpatient drug and alcohol treatment and prevention services as well as domestic violence services, and emergency 30-day DV shelter for children, adolescents and adults in the Santa Clarita, Antelope and San Fernando Valleys.
21545 Centre Pointe Pkwy, Santa Clarita, CA 91350
Creating connections, empowering everyone in the Autism community with the resources needed to live fully.
Braille Institute of Los Angeles
Offering a broad range of programs and services to empower people with vision loss of all ages.
Serving individuals with AD/HD and their families. CHADD offers support for individuals, parents, teachers, professionals, and others.
Enhancing the quality of life of individuals with Down syndrome by fostering family engagement, encouraging connections, and providing information while promoting inclusion, and awareness.
International Dyslexia Association
Creating a future for all individuals with dyslexia and other related reading differences so that they may have richer, more robust lives and access to the tools and resources they need.
Providing parent-centered services to young children with hearing loss, offering families hope, guidance, and encouragement.
Early intervention, special education, recreation, independence, workforce development and mental health programs giving people of all ages who have disabilities the opportunity to thrive.
Inclusive Playgrounds in Santa Clarita
At an inclusive playground, children (and adults) of all abilities can interact with each other and
do what everyone wants to do: PLAY!
West Creek Park
24247 Village Cir Dr.
Valencia, CA 91354.
17615 Soledad Canyon Rd.
Santa Clarita, CA 91387
Carousel Ranch Equestrian Center
Dedicated to improving the lives of children with special needs through equestrian therapy and vocational training programs.
The Gentle Barn
Guests can hug the cows, give the pigs tummy rubs, cuddle the turkeys, feed the horses and learn their stories of resilience.
Sports and Activities
Special Olympics Southern California
Providing children and adults with intellectual disabilities with opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and share their gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
SNAP Sports provides individuals with disabilities the opportunity to engage in a variety of sports-based activities. Players gain confidence and poise while becoming better equipped to manage their individual disabilities.
Angel City Sports
Offering introductory adaptive sports clinics, giving athletes opportunities to participate, learn and train in a variety of sports
Wayfinder Family Services, Recreation for Blind or Visually Impaired
Offering adaptive sports for children and adults including Blind Soccer, Goalball, Beep Baseball, Blind Judo and more!
Little League Challenger
Little League’s adaptive baseball program for individuals with physical and intellectual challenges.
American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) VIP Program
The Very Important Player (VIP) program provides a quality soccer experience for children whose physical or mental disabilities make it difficult to successfully participate on mainstream teams.
Helping children and adults with Spinal Cord Injury/Disorder to triumph over obstacles they face and to inspire them to keep moving forward with their lives by pushing themselves to get better every day.
Sensory-Friendly Movies at Regal Movie Theaters
Regal’s My Way Matinee gives everyone the opportunity to experience a movie with the lights turned up and the volume turned down. This becomes a safe space where our guests are free to express themselves by singing, crying, dancing, walking around, talking or shouting while enjoying Hollywood’s latest films!
for specific movies and showtimes.
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” –Theodore Roosevelt
“I choose not to place ‘DIS’, in my ability.” ― Robert M. Hensel
Include Everyone Project
Offering inclusive events and performing arts classes for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Prader-Will Syndrome, Downs Syndrome, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder physical disabilities and all differently abled members of the Santa Clarita Community, including an annual summer camp for our artists, and performance opportunities!
Tips to Remember for Greeting Special Needs Children on Halloween
- Make sure the path to your door is well lit and free of tripping hazards.
- Avoid decorations which may be sensory triggers such as strobe lights or loud noises.
- The child grabbing a handful of candy may have fine motor skills problems. Avoid the issue by handing out treats to your trick or treaters.
- Consider non-food treats because some children may have eating disorders or food sensitivities.
- The child who doesn’t say trick or treat, thank you, etc. may be non-verbal. It’s okay if they don’t respond.
- The child who isn’t wearing a costume might have sensory issues. Avoid singling them out by asking why they aren’t wearing a costume.
Santa Clarita Valley Special Education Local Plan Area
Disability Awareness Month
If we are to achieve a richer culture, we must weave one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place. -Margaret Meade
All types of companies have recognized that having a diverse workforce is good for business. Including individuals with disabilities to their staff expands their pool of talent, creates a culture of diversity, meets the needs of the workforce, fosters creative business solutions, and generates goodwill among customers.
Listed here are a number of small businesses operated and/or staffed by individuals with disabilities, many of which provide vocational training programs to support their community. Visit these websites to learn more about what they do and perhaps do a little shopping to support the cause.
Home Goods and Accessories
Seeds for Autism provides a path from “learning to earning” for young adults with autism through education, vocational training and social development in Phoenix, AZ.
Selling handcrafted items including jewelry, soap, kitchen items and more. Shop online: www.seedsforautism.org
Meet Kelvin, the DeafBlind Potter creating handcrafted pottery for sale on his website: www.deafblindpotter.com .
Colleta Collections in Washington, DC is on a mission to empower children and adults with intellectual and multiple disabilities to discover their full potential. Handcrafted items of all types are available online: www.colettacollections.com.
Inclusion Art By Katie Flores
Meet Katie, a prolific and passionate painter who also happens to have autism.
Shop fine art, accessories and apparel on her website: www.katieflores.com
Poli’s Woodcraft is a small family-run business showcasing the woodwork skills of Policarpo Despaigne. Poli has overcome a myriad of challenges resulting from ASD to become a wood artisan specializing in making hand turned pens.
Shop his Etsy store here: poliswoodcraft.com/
Food and Drink
Popcorn for the People was established to create career opportunities for the disabled community employing autistic and disabled adults. Shop for gourmet popcorn online: www.popcornforthepeople.com
Able Coffee Roasters imports direct trade beans from small farmers across the globe and roasts daily to create jobs for individuals with disabilities. Visit their store in Huntington Beach or Fullerton or shop online: www.theableworkers.com
Collette, a young woman with Down Syndrome, always loved to bake cookies, so she started her
Colletty’s Cookies! The mission of Collettey’s Cookies is to create jobs for people with disabilities, change the public perception of just how capable this population truly is, and create fair labor standards in the US by providing tax incentives to employers that hire workers with a disability. Shop for cookies online: www.colletteys.com
Sweet Jordan’s focusing on ABILITIES, not disabilities. If you happen to be in Tennessee, be sure to stop by for a sweet treat and play at Jordan’s Play Park! Or shop for cookies online: www.sweet-jordans-2.myshopify.com
The Unseen Bean owner, Gerry Leary, began life with less sight but more curiosity. He’s become a craftsman, an entrepreneur, and a destination for coffee drinkers in Boulder, Co. But you can purchase his coffee beans online: www.theunseenbean.com
The Chocolate Spectrum is a family owned and operated artisan chocolate company that trains and employs individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. Shop a wide variety of chocolates online: www.thechocolatespectrum.com
SMILE Biscotti-Supporting My Independent Living Enterprise was started by Matt and his parents to advance Matt’s work and independent living skills as well as others with autism and different abilities. Shop online: https://smilebiscotti.com/
Alex is a young man with autism who makes delicious toffee and creates greeting cards and artwork.
He is the Al of Big Al’s Best. Shop his creations online: www.big-als-best.com
Patrick has Cerebral Palsy and uses assistive technology to make the Purely Patrick products. Creating neatly layered dry goods to create soups, cookies, and even dog treats, he loves the sound as the ingredients fill the reusable water bottles used to package the products. Shop online: www.purelypatrick.com
Texas Sweet Heat Jam Company provides a nurturing environment for young adults with intellectual disabilities; where artisan jams are created, skills are taught and the abilities of each person are valued. Shop online: www.sweetheatjam.com
“There is no greater disability in society, than the inability to see a person as more.” – Robert M. Hensel
Clothing and Jewelry
John’s Crazy Socks is the inspiration of John, a young man with Down Syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks. Over half of their employees have a differing ability. Shop online: www.johnscrazysocks.com
Be Kind to Everyone started as a summer project to help Jordyn, who has autism, develop job skills has turned into a fun, family adventure aiming to create a positive, more inclusive world that provides opportunities for everyone. Shop for t-shirts and gifts of all kinds online: www.bekindtoeveryone.com
Special Sparkle was created to assist Kelly, a young lady with Down Syndrome, lead a fulfilled and productive life. She loves fashion, style and bling, so what better way to express that than to create fashionable jewelry! Shop for beaded jewelry and other gift items online: www. specialsparkle.com
Pearls are strong, unique, beautiful and versatile, just like people with autism. The Pearl sells a variety of jewelry and accessories made by and for family, friends and Autistic individuals. Shop online: www.supportautism.ca
Jacob’s Ladder was formed as a training and employment opportunity for Jacob, who has autism, as a means to build vocational skills. Shop Jacob’s soaps and other bath items online: www.journeytojacobsladder.com
Blissful Seeds is planting the seeds of blissful lives for adults with autism and other disabilities through employment and entrepreneurship. Shop soaps, candles and accessories online: www.blissfulseeds.org
“Disability is a matter of perception. If you can do just one thing well, you’re needed by someone.” -Martina Navratilova
Ike’s Gourmet is America’s Gourmet Dog Treat Cookie Company creating jobs for adults with disabilities. Shop for dog treats and toys online: www.ikesgourmet.com
Be sure to check our their “Chef” gallery to see who’s making these treats!
Doggy Delights is a perfect business for Allison, who has Down Syndrome, because she loves spending time in the kitchen mixing up her own treat recipes. Shop online: www.doggydelightsbyallison.com
“However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.” -Stephen Hawking
Born For Business
'Born for Business' is a 10-part docuseries chronicling the lives of four entrepreneurs with disabilities. These entrepreneurs tackle the complexities of being their own boss with grace, courage, and humor.
Watch the trailer for this series here: https://youtu.be/41GB46hDDqc?si=TIWvFv90Xfrj69jM
Literature not only helps us feel seen but also teaches us about others’ experiences. Here is a short list of some of our favorite books to inspire your own reading…
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon Christopher. John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.*Also a stage play!
Wonder by R.J. Palacio. August Pullman is a fifth-grade boy with a severe facial difference. His loving parents and sister have shielded him from many outside influences. But, his mother has decided that it's time for Auggie to brave a real school experience. The novel follows Auggie's first year of middle school from beginning to end. It's a year in which Auggie experiences the best and the worst of human nature and a year of tremendous emotional growth for him*Also a movie
1% Better: Reaching My Full Potential and How You Can Too by Chris and Nik Nikic. What would life look like if you measured your success by improvements instead of victories? Nik Nikic shares the incredible story of his son Chris’s journey to become the first person with Down syndrome to ever complete an IRONMAN® triathlon, inspiring others to achieve their goals by getting 1 percent better every day.
Reading brings us unknown friends. -Honore de Balzac
Disability Visibility Edited by Alice Wong. One in five people in the United States lives with a disability. Some disabilities are visible, others less apparent—but all are underrepresented in media and popular culture. Activist Alice Wong brings together this urgent, galvanizing collection of contemporary essays by disabled people, just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Thank You Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco. It’s no surprise that prolific author Patricia Polacco grew up loving books. What many don’t know about her is that she struggled mightily with dyslexia. As other children learned to read and she still could not, Trisha began to feel dumb. She developed coping strategies to hide the fact that she couldn’t read. But whenever she had to read aloud in class, she faced cruel teasing and bullying from her classmates. It wasn’t until a kind teacher named Mr. Falker intervened that Trisha could see her own talent and bravery, gifts that equipped her to learn to read, with his help.
The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin by Julia Finley Mosca and Daniel Rieley. As an autistic child, future scientist Temple Grandin saw the world differently than other children. Many people didn’t understand that being autistic made Temple “different, not less.” Spending a summer on the family ranch, Temple first developed her empathy for cows, who were also visual thinkers like she was. Her understanding of the animals helped her advance livestock science to become more humane. This rhyming book not only teaches kids about Temple’s life, but reminds them to celebrate the many different ways our brains can work.
It's time for moviegoers to embrace disability as just another aspect of life to be shown on film. Here are a few of our favorite films and series…
The Peanut Butter Falcon Rated PG-13. Zak runs away from his care home to make his dream of becoming a wrestler come true.
CODA Rated PG-13. As a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults) Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family's fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her passion at Berklee College of Music and her fear of abandoning her parents.
Best Summer Ever Not rated. A fresh and exhilarating take on the beloved teen musical genre featuring eight original songs and a fully integrated cast and crew of people with and without disabilities.
Crip Camp Rated R. Down the road from Woodstock, a revolution blossomed at a ramshackle summer camp for teenagers with disabilities, transforming their lives and igniting a landmark movement
Everybody Dance Not rated. This extremely touching film reveals the everyday lives of kids with different disabilities and how ballet has changed their lives. The film explores the lives of five kids, and their incredible dance teacher, as they prepare for an emotional end-of-year dance recital.
All You Hear is Noise Not Rated. A fearless documentary portrait of three athletes with intellectual disabilities navigating life beyond the international spotlight of the Special Olympics World Games.
Love on the Spectrum and Down for Love These documentary series follow young adults on the autism spectrum and with down syndrome as they explore the unpredictable world of love, dating and relationships.
Meet Jacob Rock Jacob Rock, 19, is non-verbal and autistic. As he began to communicate through a typing app on his iPad, he told his parents he had a 70-minute symphony in his head, titled 'Unforgettable Sunrise.' With the help of musician Rob Laufer, he was able to translate this into a musical score which was performed recently in Los Angeles. Read more about this incredible venture here: https://www.kqed.org/news/11962024/symphony-by-non-verbal-teen-is-his-unforgettable-sunrise
Adaptive Classes at IEP (Include Everyone Project)Everyone can benefit from expressing themselves through performing arts. Build confidence and relationships through movement, music, or acting where verbal and nonverbal artists can communicate, where mobile and partially mobile artists can express themselves, where all bodies and minds can play, imagine, and create. Learn more at www.iepscv.org.
Santa Clarita Valley Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA)
Disability Awareness Month
Temple Grandin is an author and animal welfare and autism advocate. Grandin became a fellow at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and won an award from PETA for advocating for more humane treatment of animals. While her mother suspected that Grandin was on the autism spectrum when she was a teenager, she was not formally diagnosed until she was in her 40’s.
Steve Lee. This outstanding individual is a Chinese-American stand-up comedian, actor, producer, and writer. His comedy is centered around his experiences growing up in Hong Kong and the U.S. dealing with racism and living with disabilities. Lee uses humor to convey his belief that everyone is equal and to get people to laugh about their own shortcomings and problems in their daily lives.
Derrick Coleman. Currently, the only Deaf player in the National Football League (NFL), as well as the first Deaf offensive player in NFL history. Throughout his school years, he fought against the odds in a sport that is traditionally inaccessible to Deaf people and Coleman continued on to play for UCLA. He was drafted into the NFL in 2012 and became a Superbowl champion 2 years later with the Seattle Seahawks’ 2014 victory.
Frida Kahlo. Known for her amazing self-portraits, Freida became disabled following a bout of polio when she was six as well as a trolley accident in her teenage years. Today, she is renowned for how her art questions ideas of identity, gender, class, post-colonialism, and race.
President Joe Biden. As President of the United States, Joe Biden is required to speak in public at high-profile events more often than most. It’s no secret that President Biden has struggled with a stutter throughout his life, but it makes it all the more impressive and inspiring that he has risen to the highest office you can possibly hold in the United States.
Christine Ha is the blind cook who won “MasterChef” Season 3 with Gordon Ramsey. Christine is also the owner of several restaurants and a recipient of multiple awards. Her book “Recipes from My Home Kitchen,” was also a New York Times best-seller.
Sujeet Desai. The first musician with Down Syndrome to play at Carnegie Hall. He has mastered seven instruments and performed in almost every state and in 13 countries. Due to his many accomplishments, Sujeet has received major media attention throughout the years, with two documentaries under his belt in addition to features on The View, 20/20, the Oprah Winfrey Show, The Wall Street Journal, and New York Times.
Disability Pride: Accepting and honoring each person’s uniqueness and recognizing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity.
We empower people with disabilities with confidence, independence and style by leading a movement of inclusion in the fashion industry.
Fashion should always be about celebrating individuality and creativity. A nonprofit organization called Runway of Dreams Foundation recently showcased fashion made specifically for people with disabilities. The Runway of Dreams Fashion Show had 70 models with varying disabilities and backgrounds wearing different designs displaying adaptive apparel specifically made for people with disabilities. "I believe fashion is one of the most surreal ways to celebrate your uniqueness," said Lachi, one of the models. "The way I celebrate my uniqueness is by celebrating my disability."
Highlights from the fashion show here: https://youtu.be/EpoPkCEUMUM?si=N74HD77WBkoslO8O
Disability only becomes a tragedy when society fails to provide the things we need to lead our lives.
My Body Doesn’t Oppress Me, Society Does
Check out this powerful video by Patty Berne and Stacey Milbern. They present a social model of disability, explaining how universal design, adaptive devices, and meeting people’s access needs can limit the social, economic, and physical barriers that render physical impairments disabling in an ablest society. https://youtu.be/7r0MiGWQY2g?si=1RCQ4-qawAj_pryQ
What Inclusion Looks Like at Saugus Union School District...
TK-1st Grade Inclusion Pilot at Rosedell Elementary
3 General Education Classes
1 Special Education Teacher
Rotates between the 3 classes to be present during important direct instruction time.
Teaches a subject during rotations during “first teach.”
Small group reteaching for any students in the class who need a little more help. This may include special ed and non-special ed students.
Part of the PLC process: teach a small group during “WIN” (What I Need) intervention time that includes students grouped by ability from the entire grade level.
Rotate between the 3 classes to ensure support is available for each class.
Walk around the classroom to support students with academic work.
Attend recess and lunch with students to help social integration and encourage play and friendships with special ed and general ed students.