One of my favorite education quotes is by Marva Collins….”There is a brilliant child locked inside every student.” For those of you who aren’t familiar with Marva Collins, she was a tireless education advocate, who sought to help those students who were lost in the Chicago Public School system. Many of these kids were labeled ” learning disabled” she set out to prove they weren’t. She started an awesome low cost private school, took in many kids and changed their lives….If you haven’t read her story I highly suggest you do…she was a woman who not only talked about helping those being left behind, but put her money where her heart was and helped them unlock their full potential.

I wish she was still alive. I would love to talk with her, she had such determination and drive to help those that others pushed aside. I feel like this is still true today. To often it’s an easy response to say ” it’s too difficult to deal with their issues” it frustrates me how many people talk about fixing issues, but really don’t do what is required….We are going through this in Texas with its Special Education right now. It wasn’t until an awesome reporter by the name of Brian Rosenthal, started investigating, that changes started. I love seeing people like Marva and Brian push through difficult “roadblocks”  to make positive changes, for those who to often do not have a voice.To often people rely on others to make changes that are needed, instead of taking that initiative themselves to be the change. I am a homeschooler by choice, but this doesn’t mean I don’t respect or admire awesome teachers who have made powerful differences. I had some awesome teachers that to this day have a lasting positive impact on my life. When Mark, Peyton and I were in Palo Alto in November we met two such teachers…Mark and Amy Weidman, they are what every parent hopes for their child’s teacher. They have a real passion to not only teach, but to make a difference in their students lives.

Special needs students truly need support in ways that others may not even realize. Many times they don’t know how to express their hurts, stresses and issues. When someone takes that extra time to spend with them and learn their triggers, it can make the world of difference. They are not set asides, castaways and other such disrespectful terms that some use towards them. With the growing number of children being born with Autism, we need to truly look at how we can prepare them for the future…they need life skills, social skills and job skills that don’t always come easily for them. To ignore them or treat them as “learning disabled” is disrespectful and will harm all of us in the end. They may not have all the same skills or futures as other kids their ages, but they have so much to offer. Taking the time and effort to find their skills will be rewarding for all. Once we all realize and believe “There is a brilliant child locked inside every student” we can all become extensions of Marva Collins and make a profound difference by unlocking their potential!

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