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School-Age Stuttering Therapy: A Practical Approach

Dr. Scott Yarus

Pattan- York Learning Center



Focus of Therapy is on:

  • Reducing Impairment
  • Reducing Negative Reactions
  • Reducing Activity Limitations and Participation Restrictions
  • Reducing Adverse Impact


Assessment includes:

  • Impairment-collect in multiple locations as true stuttering varies
    • Non-Stuttered Speech-language based, trying to form thoughts, can  be used to hide stuttered behaviors
    • Stuttered Behaviors-knows what they want to say but can’t get it out (frequent interjections, prolongations, part word repetition, blocks)
    • “Loss of control”-feeling you have in these moments (hitting a patch of ice while driving)
    • Physical Tension
    • Check frequency, type, secondary features
  • Reactions-child’s thoughts and feelings about their stuttering
  • Adverse Impact-how does the environment respond to their stuttering


“If the pain of change is greater than the pain of staying where are you, change will never happen”

  • Readiness is the key to the success of stuttering therapy.
  • Measure and document adverse impact to determine if child is ready for therapy.


Foundations necessary for effective stuttering treatment:

  • Learn about speaking (Speech Machine-Brain and the Respiratory, Phonatory, and Articulatory Systems) (how voice works-bumpy, high, low, stuck, etc)
  • Learn about stuttering (what happens when we stutter, types, teach the teacher, explore the moment, how to change moment)
  • Learn about why and how therapy works-no secrets in therapy…know the information…fact sheets for all techniques
  • Learn about limitations of therapy-no practice or use of techniques makes them not helpful, techniques are 100%


Stuttering Modification: Change timing and tension

  • Cancellation: after a moment of stuttering (desensitizing, intentional coping)
  • Pull-out: during a moment of stuttering (notice tension, ease the tension, move forward)
  • Preparatory Set: before a moment of stuttering (easing in, starting without tension)
  • Pausing-natural and appropriate phrasing
  • Light contact-preventing tension, but very hard to do


Behavioral Concerns-

  • Fear-face the fear of stuttering, desensitization
  • Hierarchy- least feared situation and build up to greatest fear
  • Be comfortable with silence-pausing game
  • Interact with other stutterers-all ages (National Stuttering Association-link child with another person who stutters with similar interests. Regulated)


Environmental Issues- help the children educate the people in their environment

  • Parents- just want you to make it go away. Education is key (Stuttering can’t be fixed but can be managed.)
  • Teachers- taught old information from the 1930’s/40’s. Re-educate on the new ideas of stuttering.
  • Peers- significant higher rate of bullying toward those who stutter.

PAGE conference

2017 PAGE Conference

Melissa Wilson and Deb Sowers attended the 2017 PAGE Conference at Mohegan Sun Resort on November 16 & 17. This year’s theme was “Changing Mindsets and Removing Barriers to Gifted Education”.

Session 1: Top Tech Tools and Tips (presenter Dr. Katie Leach, Weatherly Area School District & Wilkes University)

Dr. Leach provided many different resources to be used in the classroom (visit www.mrsleach.wikispaces.com for more information)

Other take-aways from the session:

  • Technology should help students think, not just “consume”.


  • Tools to learn strengths and interests of your students

Discovery VR (VR glasses for $5 at Five Below!)

Decided–an app (roulette) put in several options and the “roulette” will make a selection


  • Organize information for your students

Toby–a Chrome extension that you can use to aggregate resources


  • Engage students in learning with technology

Yakit — app to use instead of Voki

Elevate–app for Brain training

In between sessions we were able to do some networking:

  • York PAGE is being organized.
  • Khan Academy correlates with MAPs — “Khan Mappers” (?)
  • 2018 NAGC is in Minneapolis (Nov. 15-18)
  • 2019 NAGC is in Albuquerque (Nov. 7-10)

Session 2: (Deb) Gifted Students: Differentiation, Education and PBL (presenters Laura Hummell, PDE Technology and Engineering content advisor and Sally Flaherty, PDE Social Studies content advisor)  Contact info:  lhummell@pa.gov and saflaherty@pa.gov

Session 2: (Melissa) Beyond the Numbers: Understanding Gifted Students’ Test Results


The psychologist went through each subtest of the WISC-V. She explained what each subtest measured. This session was valuable to me because I will have a better understanding of the test results when a student qualifies for gifted services.

Friday, Nov. 17

Keynote: Mary Cay Ricci: Growth Mindset

Author of Nothing You Can’t Do (for grades 3-7)  and for parents Mindsets for Parents

Twitter: @MaryCayR Facebook: Mindsets in the Classroom

Students need to struggle and have a menu of strategies to use when they struggle.

Students need:

  • Think aloud or self-talk
  • Breaking material down into smaller chunks
  • Take a break–every hour
  • Review previous feedback or examples
  • Highlight to help focus
  • Ask for help with a specific question (and then WE ask “What have you done to help solve this?”)

Session A (Melissa)


Parents: Is your child ready for math acceleration?

IQ testing may hide math talent; diagnostic testing is essential.

Modifications must be made to regular programming.

If math instruction is isolated, it may result in a feeling of isolation. Students may not learn the material as well.

More appropriate options:

Breadth/Depth approach: The same curriculum, greater depth

Enrichment topics

Math-related independent study projects

Curriculum compacting (what do we do with the time saved)

Subject-matter acceleration in mathematics

Ability grouping: Groups of advanced students study math together, grouped within the reg classroom

Session A: (Deb)  Accelerated Readers with a Twist: Finding Age-Appropriate Books for Gifted Children (presenter: Lisa Conrad)

Twitter: @ljconrad


Pinterest: pinterest.com/ljconradgps/gifted-parenting-support/

Lisa gave our group permission to share ANYTHING she’s presented or given to us.

She provided multiple lists of age-appropriate books for gifted learners (by grade level bands) as well as literature selected for gifted learnings in light of the Common Core state standards.

“Books should not just be available, but virtually falling into children’s laps, or at least, visible in as many locations as possible: in the classroom, in every room of the house, in the car, and so on.” — Daniel T Willingham, PhD.

“Reading is a particularly good way for gifted children to experience the world of the imagination…Relying on  our own imagination produces inner resources in a way that incorporating a media image does not.”

Intellectual ability might not match up with maturity level which is WHY we need resources shared in the session.

Gifted readers tend to read:

  • At a deeper level
  • Earlier (but not always)
  • At rates often far beyond schoolmates.

To find out more about the resources the presenter shared (and there are MANY), please contact Deb!

Session B (Melissa): Doing Poorly on Purpose

Jim Delisle

This session focused on reaching gifted students who are working below their level. He gave many examples of students who were “broken” by school. How do we reach them?

We must teach students to advocate for themselves.

Self-advocacy is the process of recognizing and meeting the needs specific to your learning ability without compromising the dignity of yourself or others -Loring C. Brinckerhof

Ten tips for talking to teachers (self-advocacy tips)


http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/files/Parked-Files/Self-Advocacy%20PHP%20Sept%202017.pdf (aimed at parents and students)

Session B (Deb): Developing the 5 Cs in our students: critical thinking, creativity, courage, collaboration, and communication (presenter: Mike Sernoffsky)

Collaboration–share ideas, compromise, everyone on the team has a certain role; this is a skill that CAN be developed; to build teamwork, give a problem, but you cannot talk (always reflect on what happened)

Communication–verbal, nonverbal, gestures, body language, eye contact…all types of communication; work to teach presentation skills; communicate HOW and WHY (in presentation)

Creativity–can be taught; there is usually not one way of doing something; build on strengths using creative process (not linear)–recognize the problem, imagine a solution, initiate and collaborate, assess (ongoing until—evaluate and celebrate; recognition of what was done

Some are whole-to-part thinkers (me); some are part-to-whole thinkers

Critical Thinking–can you justify/verify your answer?  Revisit the problem constantly and monitor how you’re answering.  

Courage–courage to try something is something we need to encourage in our kids; Failure is a FIRST ATTEMPT.  Tied into critical thinking; if it didn’t work the first time, what can I do to adjust and make it better THIS time.

Our day ended with a PAGE Member meeting and annual awards banquet.

We appreciate being allowed the time to learn and network with our professional peers from around the state.  As “island” teachers (there are only 2 of us at SWSD), this opportunity is very valuable!

Deb Sowers and Melissa Wilson


I attended a conference regarding the Commonweath Student Assistance Program (SAP) held on November 2nd, 3rd, and 10th at Susquehannock High School. The conference was primarily a training session that covered how to assist in identifying barriers that impact student success. Typical barriers include alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and mental health issues. The overall goal of the Student Assistance Program is to help students who are facing barriers overcome their challenges so that they can remain and achieve success within school. Throughout the training we learned and discussed the four phases of the process to help assist students.
The four phases to the student assistance process include the following:
1. Referrals- Anyone can refer a student to SAP when they are concerned about the student’s behavior. This includes family members, school staff, a student’s friend, community member, or the student. Once referred, the SAP team is responsible for contacting the parents/guardians of the student to ask for permission before proceeding with the process.
2. Team Planning- During this phase, the SAP team gathers information about the student’s overall performance in school from those who work or are in contact with the student directly. Information is also gathered from the parents/guardians. After the data is collected, the team meets with the parents and student to discuss the information and to develop a plan that will remove the learning barriers which will promote personal and academic success.
3. Intervention and Recommendations- During this phase, the developed plan is put into action. The team assists in linking the student to in-school and/or community-based services. In addition, the team might recommend a drug and alcohol screening or mental health screening.
4. Support and Follow-Up- The team is responsible for continuing to work with and supporting the student and their families. This may include mentoring, monitoring, and motivating the student so that he or she can achieve success.

In addition to learning about the phases, we thoroughly discussed current drugs that are commonly seen in schools, mental health issues (anxiety disorders, mood disorders, depression, life-crisis events, bipolar disorders, self-harming behaviors, and suicide), our legal rights as educators, and the laws regarding the parent’s right to be involved within the process.

I found the training to be very insightful. I’m excited to be an official member of the SAP team here at South Western High School!

I attended the Professional Development Day on October 9 at Ephrata Middle School.  The day opened with a performance by the West African Drum and Dance group from Cocalico School District.

9:00-10:00 Session – Ipads in the Elementary Music Class by Daniel Beal

Mr. Beal discuss various was to use the Ipad in music classes at the elementary level.  His notes are available at https://goo.gl/QYCcaY

He mentioned the Amy Burns website (www.amyburns.com) as his greatest source of inspiration and encouraged us to check that out.

He also went over Ipad apps that are great for using in the music classroom such as Soundtrap, Autorap, Christmas Tap and Sing by Storybots, DoReMi 1-2-3, and Brainpop Jr.  All of those are available for free.  Other apps were mentioned, but they cost money.

A few other apps were mentioned that could be used as instruments such at Bebot, Thumbjam, and Geoshred.  He discussed keyboard and recorder learning apps like Dust Buster, Piano Maestro, and Joytunes Recorder Master which I have used before.  Each of these are great in one-on-one setting, but using with more students is very difficult.

He spent a good portion of this time discussing Garage Band and using that to help students compose music.

10:05-11:05 Session – Ipad concerts by Daniel Beal

Mr. Beal presented the use of several Ipad apps (mentioned in the previous session) to have students compose and perform in an all Ipad concert.

He discussed the planning, composition, practice, and performance aspects of the entire project.

11:10-12:10 – Elementary Band reading session led by Tim Bupp

Elementary band music was performed by all in attendance.  I received several ideas to use with my band students here.

1:00-2:00 Middle School/High School band reading session by Travis Weller

A reading session geared toward older students, but Mr. Weller also discussed the composition process.  I learned ways to help my students begin thinking about composing music.

2:05-3:05 Session – Starting Strings Right:  A Beginner Week Approach by Elizabeth Lavender

This session presented the idea of having a beginner week for string players where they meet for a lesson everyday for one week to set up the basics of playing string instruments.  This is based off of the book The Teaching of Action in String Playing by Paul Rolland.

The lesson focus on Balance, Freedom of Movement, and Elimination of Unnecessary Tension.

All of this while also striving to establish correct instrument hold and posture, shape the left hand, explore the fingerboard, and develop the bow hold and bow stroke.

It was a great day of learning!

During this workshop the presenter, teacher-librarian, Shauna Yusko, shared a resource list of over 350 award winning and star reviewed YA titles as well as book talked over 100 of them.  In addition to the lengthy list of titles she also shared many innovative ideas on how to promote reading and keep young adults reading.  Among her many suggestions were ways to use QR codes to personalize and differentiate instruction by imbedding a code on an assignment sheet that leads to videos or websites with tutorials for students who need more support. They can also be used to update outdated information in nonfiction books, place codes on equipment for instructions on use, or place on books to lead to trailers, reviews, or author interviews.  She also shared many ideas for book projects such as creating a graphic novel version of a chapter or scene, create a reader’s theater script, a movie poster, book trailer, or board game.  Several resource lists on teacher’s guides, publishers, and book trailers were also included in the resource handbook.  This workshop is always informative and helpful in collection development and library program ideas.

NSTA Conference

Oct 5, 2017

Baltimore Convention Center

Attended by Heather Waybright, Amy Beddia, and Zane Grindle


The conference was centered around the theme “Making Science Accessible: Full Speed Ahead”.  There was a wide variety of experiences available for all grade levels.


Community-Based Problems: Using Middle School Science and Engineering to Help Your Community


-eCybermission, an online competition for grades 6-9

-mini grants available for supplies based on # of students participating

-allows students to identify community problems

-uses the scientific inquiry process or engineering design process to help students find solutions to these problems

-lesson plans and teacher resource guide available

-register early for free STEM kits! Projects due in February


Using Genetics to Build a Model

The companies CPO Science and School Specialty Science presented two of their model kits and had small groups work through a portion of their lesson on the kits.  The lessons were based on Mendelian genetics and flipping coins to determine traits.  Each group found a recessive or dominant gene and built a plastic/wood “animal” from these traits.  Each group also constructed a sequence of genes to create a model chromosome.  The kits were very interesting.  Later, Zane Grindle visited the company’s booth and found more information on the kits.  The kits were very expensive but could be applied for with a grant.  It is my intention to write a grant later this year.

This kit would fit very well into the 7tn grade science curriculum.  At this point we are currently looking for a model/lab because we do not have one.  These kits can be used throughout our genetics unit. The kits also include a number of online resources that we currently do not have.


Building a Rain Garden

This seminar focused on building a rain garden out of of mulch, gravel, sand and loam.  Each group had to build a small rain garden (in a plastic bottle) to filter dirt from a dirt/water mix.  The seminar was taught by the Towson University and the larger concepts addressed were erosion, soils and conservation techniques.

After the seminar, Zane Grindle used the techniques and incorporated them in his own version of the lab.  My lab featured a PVC pipe model (vs the plastic bottle) and plastic beads (vs the types of soil).  The lab with a few modifications was a success and the workshop supplied me with the ideas necessary to create the lab.


Legends of Learning

This is a program that incorporates games, simulations, and assessments for students to learn and practice several curriculum-aligned objectives. It is available to all middle school students and teachers. Teachers  are able to select objectives and create their own questions related to their own classes. Data is recorded on each student regarding their performance. Webinar training, on-line support, account setup, and creating student rosters is all provided. Over 1,000 games are provided. I (Amy Beddia), am considering applying for a grant for this as it would be a new and exciting way to learn and practice concepts learned in science classes. The feature that allows teachers to create their own questions/reviews/assessments and especially the data provision make this a very attractive offer.

I attended the College Board Counselor Workshop held September 13th at Mt. St. Mary’s University in Emmetsburg, MD.  This was primarily an informational session that covered several important topics related to the counseling profession.  It is vital that we stay informed of the latest news and happenings in the counseling profession.  The College Board counselor workshop covered several topics of interest including, but not limited to:  PSAT-related assessments, SAT exam and practice, the AP program, services for students with disabilities, college planning resources, and counselor resources and events.  Most of the information discussed can be easily accessed.  However, it helps to have an expert nearby to answer questions and other counselors to network with.

One new change or opportunity that was discussed is the possibility of high school’s offering the SAT exam during the actual school day – similar to how we administer the PSATs and the AP exams.  Per the CB rep, students feel more safe and prepared to do well when they have the opportunity to test in a familiar environment.  We do offer the SATs three times here at SWHS during the school year so I’m not sure that this opportunity would have a major impact on our students.  However, this will be something we discuss in the future.

Milton S. Hershey

“Children must have at least one person who believes in them. It could be a counselor, a teacher, a preacher, or a friend. It could be you. You never know when a little love, a little support, will plant a small seed of hope.” Marian Wright Edelman

On Monday, November 13, 2017, Jessie Gobrecht, Erin Hansen, Jill Shirey, and I attended a Milton Hershey School presentation on Poverty, and we took a campus tour. Stacey Spangenburg, admission’s coordinator at Milton Hershey School, kicked off our visit at the admission office and gave us an overview of the school. The Milton Hershey School (MHS) is a cost-free, private, home and school for children from families of lower income. It receives funding from a trust that was established by Milton S. Hershey and his wife. Hershey grew up living in poverty, and initially, struggled to begin his business. The school is a positive, structured year-round home and school for children in grades pre-K-12. MHS is about improving children’s opportunities, and is open to children from across the country: 76% of students are from PA, but 26 other states are represented; 50-50 males/females, and 50% Caucasian and 50% are of color.

We watched vignettes of students from York and Lancaster County who described their life at MHS and the opportunities and experiences at the school. These learners were introduced to the school by a at-risk-advisor and a school counselor in their districts.

Education, family, clothing, medical, dental, security, a home away from home, AP classes, and service learning through international travel opportunities are available at no cost to family. Appropriate grades and behaviors help students earn money each year for college and further education. Money is earned from freshman year to the end of senior year.

We attended a workshop/training on Chocolate and Poverty presented by Spangenburg. A few facts given about poverty are: (1) every 19 minutes in Pennsylvania a child is born into poverty; (2) children are more likely to be in poverty than any other group in PA; and (3) minorities are more likely to be in poverty over any other group.. Some key points to remember about poverty is that it is relative, generational (this is the way they see their lives—never ending) or situational poverty (mid-class families who can see their way out) are different, as well as, urban and rural poverty are different. Regardless of the way that we define poverty, these children come to school with trauma: neglect, adverse childhood experiences, and basic needs are not often met.
In order for families to move out of poverty they need resources: financial, emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, support systems, relationships/role models, and knowledge of hidden rules.

Financial: having the money to purchase goods and services: $365 month per person;
Emotional: being able to choose and control emotional responses; particularly to negotiate situations, without engaging in self-destructive behavior, and grit;
Mental: having mental abilities ad acquired skills to deal with daily life, can the person read, write, and compute, have a plan, problem-solve, understanding cause and effect;
Spiritual: believing in divine purpose and guidance;
Physical: having physical health and mobility;
Support Systems: having friends; family, and backup resources available to access in times of need;
Relationships/Role Models: having frequent access to adult(s) who are appropriate, who are nurturing to the child, and who do not engage in self-destructive behavior, who in the family cares about the person, and who in the house does this person care about;
Knowledge of Hidden Rules: knowing the unspoken cues and habits of a group, how important is achievement.

If a person has six or seven of these resources, the person has a good chance of pulling oneself out of poverty. MHS goal is to provide children with the education and these resources to break the cycle of poverty.

Putting the pieces together involves multi-system interventions that are the best approaches for most complex social problems and collaboration among community organizations. There are ways for people to leave poverty: (1) too painful to stay; (2) vision or goal; (3) key relationships; (4) special skill or talent, and (5) Education.

As counselors and educators, knowing this information is valuable because meeting these students’ needs can be challenging, and the MHS is one resource that can give students’ opportunities for future success. Ways for families to pull themselves out of poverty Include a need and access to resources. MHS can most definitely supply education and relationships. If they help students and families see their way out of poverty, but it is their choice to walk through the doors. At SWSD, we can bring awareness to the MHS program through a parent night for eligible families.

Resources adapted from “A Framework for Understanding Poverty”.

Recommended Resources to gain a better understanding of poverty:

“The Line” available at http://thelinemovie.com/

Poverty USA

“The High Cost of Being Poor” available at Annie E. Casey website

“The State of AMerica’s Children, 2015” available at CHildren’s Defense Fund website

Teaching with Poverty in Mind: Poor Students, Rich Teaching by Eric Jensen

A Framework for Understanding Poverty: Bridges out of Poverty by Dr. Ruby Payne

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehreneich

Amazing Grace, Savage Inequalities, and Ordinary Resurrections by Jonathan Kozol




Attended 11/3/17 by Cari Friddle, Lori Holland, and Summer Borden


At risk factors: inattention, easily distracted, irritable, easily angered, quick escalation, defiant, oppositional, sadness, excessive worry, sensory/ sensitivity (seeing more), trauma (most likely trust has been broken with adults–the way they relate to people is maladaptive)

  • If a child is disrespecting adults, it is most often because there was an adult in their life who was not trustworthy – most likely, if a child is automatically distrusting of adults, there is probably trauma in the past.
    • The important thing for kids (especially those with trauma) is to build a trust relationship with them — avoid using “No” – instead try “Not now,” or “after we do _____.”


Brain research – 25 years old is around when frontal lobe fully develops–controls decision making abilities–consequences help mold


DSM 5 Definitions and what it looks like in the classroom:

  • ADHD-constant questions
  • ODD
  • Conduct Disorder
  • ASD-no hurry (no time understanding)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Childhood Anxiety (parent sharing too much)
  • Childhood Depression (sadness hides under the anger–they don’t like how they feel, so it makes them grumpy)


*Health factors–student with newly diagnosed blood sugar issues; ups/downs; can/cannot control

Solve puzzle by looking at all pieces-COLLABORATION- Include EVERYONE (past teachers, parents, school, guidance, primary care provider, community partners–home visit)


  • Define the challenge (problem)
  • Discover the “why” — get into the child’s thinking — listen to the child’s perception; this can bring insight to be able to reframe the child’s view.
  • Define a solution: reduce symptoms and increase the coping
    • Factors to consider: the diagnosis, the behavior, age of child


Interventions were suggested for each diagnosis:


  • Do not engage in arguments with defiant kids
  • The core issues for ODD: lack of trust in adults, needing power/control
  • Always provide choices to allow the child to be ‘in control’ without engaging in a power struggle



  • energy: teach fast, medium, slow
  • Catch phrases, “slow down and think” “you control your energy,  your energy doesn’t control you”
  • card games — teaches control and focus
  • ADHD: daily goal with reward–

*Mini-marshmallow–delayed gratification(focus)

*no vs. not now


Mood Disorder :

  • Always remember → Anger is a secondary emotion; if there is anger, something came first (sadness)
  • Catch phrase — “it’s O.K. to be mad, but it’s not O.K. to be bad.”
  • Finger Tracing — trace the fingers on opposite hand as a breathe — breathe in on my way up a finger, and breathe out on my way down…
  • Journaling is key — best way to regulate emotions, thoughts, and feelings



    • What CAN you control v.s. What CAN’T you control — organizer
    • Let our tension by having student pull up on their seat with their hands, while pushing down on the floor with their feet


  • Coping Cat workbooks



90 days to form a new habit–thoughts for goal setting–


Peppermint when feeling upset; helps keep you grounded


Know the meds your kids are taking; know the side effects


Process through feelings with kids, not just behaviors


Foster care-every child in foster care should be in therapy

Adoption- triggers– abuse, time of the year, adoption date


Mental Health of Staff–We have to Help to take care of ourselves to be able to take care of others–1 thing you do for yourself…


Book Recommendation: Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction is Hijacking Our Kids – and How to Break the Trance by Nicholas Kardaras


On October 10th, 2017, South Western High School had the pleasure of hosting the 8th Annual Diversity Summit, which was sponsored by South Western School District, the Hanover Area Council of Churches, the Hispanic Center, and UPMC Healthcare. Over 200 members of the community, including business people, human resource professionals, educators, and students, attended the event to learn more about diversity, equity, and cultural understanding. In addition, over 20 South Western High School students served as volunteers, guides, and moderators.

The day began with a keynote speaker, Jeremy Poincenot. Poincenot lost most of his vision in college due to a rare genetic disorder. After a period of depression, he realized that he had to continue living his life. Poincenot discovered Blind Golfing which allowed him to continue his passion for the sport, and he would eventually even win the World Blind Golf Championship. Today he advocates for disabilities, and told the audience that it’s OK to ask for help when facing adversity.

Participants then moved to their first breakout sessions. A few of the topics included:

-Implicit and Unconscious Bias
-How To Speak Up at School
-Dismantling the Shackles of Ageism
-Trans 101: Working Competently with Transgender Youth
-Working with Multi-Racial Individuals in a Race-Conscious Society
-Understanding the Challenges and Finding Solutions for Inclusion of People with Disabilities

After lunch, participants again gathered in the auditorium for the second keynote speaker, Deo Mwano, who described himself as “an innovative, multi-cultural leader in education, organizational leadership and social justice.” Mwano was originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. His family faced years of brutal civil war, and at age nine, Mwano had to become the patriach of his family after his father’s death. Eventually, his family would move to the United States in 2000 as refugees. Initially lost and confused, his family found acceptance in their community thanks to the efforts of local families who welcomed them with open arms. Mwano described his immense pride at being both American and Congolese, and how both of these identities could exist at the same time.

Following Mwano’s keynote speech, participants moved to the second breakout session of the day. Overall, the event received many positive reviews and comments, and hopefully, those who attended the Summit could return to their schools or places of employment with a greater understanding of other peoples and cultures.

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