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Inclusion: a new reality.

Inclusion: A New Reality

WE ARE PLEASED and honored to be publishing information organized by two key national organizations in Exceptional Parent in 1991. The initiation of this new program within Exceptional Parent is an especially appropriate way to mark our twentieth anniversary year.

When we bagan, we knew that parents needed practical information that they could evaluate and utilize on behalf of their children and all their family members. To quote from our first issue:

"What you really want is some personal feedback for your particular problems and concerns: The kind of support and advice you usually get from friends and relatives; an opportunity to sort out the experiences, ideas, and solutions of others and select the ones that fit your needs, temperament, and life style. You need suggestions from people who have had problems similar to yours and mastered them; who have tried new and different solutions; and who can spell out what you can expect in the future...

"Our challenge is to provide you with useful information. Our success will depend on your willingness to respond to our material -- criticize, praise, and most important, clarify for us what is uppermost in your mind -- and our ability to listen to you."

Because we believed that parents needed to be listened to by professionals like ourselves, who understood that parents are the real experts about their own children, we hoped that Exceptional Parent would become a national forum for sharing by parents and professionals. To quote again from our first issue:

"We need your suggestions, criticisms, and contributions whether you are a parent, a professional, a person with a disability -- or perhaps all three. We believe that we need to share with each other, to learn from each other, and to grow together.

"We recognize that your task and ours are not easy ones. We are dealing with a difficult and delicate problem -- the care of children with physical, intellectual, perceptual, and/or emotional disabilities which interfere with their abilities to get along with others, to learn, and to grow up in a demanding and often unfeeling world."

We are very thankful for the fact that, from the beginning, parents and people with disabilities have educated and re-educated us. Their articles have been and continue to be the most important wisdom that we can share in this magazine. Their letters and comments, searches for help, responses to one another, and critiques of our efforts have been vital to our growth as well as to our survival.

Now, by including these two sections within our pages, we are able to expand our framework for sharing. The United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Inc. (UCPA), one of the early national advocacy organizations for people with disabilities and their families, received through its Community Services Division a federal grant in 1990 to continue the publication of the Family Support Bulletin, which had begun in 1987 as a forum to focus attention on the needs of families for various supports and as these needs had been addressed in federal legislation (P.L. 99-457) in 1986. We are delighted that we can bring the Bulletin and its information-packed pages to a far wider audience of parents and professionals.

Networking, prepared by the National Parent Network on Disabilities (NPND), is a new publication by a relative newcomer (founded in 1987) among national organizations. But the members of this national organization are in no way newcomers because this organization was "conceived" by the directors of Parent Training and Information Centers in all parts of the United States. Beginning in 1975, Parent Training and Information Centers have been and continue to be outstanding parent-managed programs. These local centers reach out to parents of children with disabilities and chronic medical conditions. They also seek to improve the lives of families of children with disabilities everywhere.

The NPND is not a substitute for any organization which focuses its attention on a particular disability or set of conditions; rather it opens its doors and heart to all individuals and groups concerned with the lives of children with disabilities and their parents and family members. It is because of this breadth and NPND's exciting history of service to parents by parents that we are so pleased to help bring its message to parents and professionals everywhere.

In communities everywhere, dedicated people are working for the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life. By including these two sections in Exceptional Parent and working cooperatively with these fine groups, not only are we able to provide more top-notch editorial material and expand our national, and even international, forum but we are also providing a model of sharing and cooperation between groups. We are hopeful that this model will stimulate similar cooperation between groups everywhere.
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Author:Klein, Stanley D.; Schleifer, Maxwell J.
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Article Type:editorial
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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