Raising a new generation of Ability thinkers?

Jan 31, 2013
Tagged with: Raising a new generation of Ability thinkers?

A new generation of Ability Thinkers – what will it take to make lasting change?  As I ponder this thought, it is with windows open on a 70 degree night in January in St. Louis!  That is crazy and really unheard of!  Almost as crazy as a world where we can someday imagine that kids/adults with disabilities are treated no differently than those without disabilities.

What will it take to get us there as a nation and a world?

Could it just be that from the ground up and from a grassroots standpoint that all kids/adolescents now are taught that the kid next to them with the wheelchair, or the walker, or the limp, or the cane, or the hearing aid, or the speech impediment, or the social awkwardness are absolutely one and the same as everyone else?  For today’s youth to be taught that way of thinking, don’t we need to be creating future educators and other career minded people that individuals with disabilities are completely capable and unbelievably “normal”?  What if we had a new generation of people and educators who see no difference AND endless capabilities in their students or individuals who have a disability – is this reality a possibility?  That would be a dream someday to see, would it not?  Let us all live to see the day.

Athletes that are being challenged to train to the same intensity as their classmates and students that are being included just because they are students and not singled out because they have a disability – wow!   I have the extreme privilege every day to teach to this new generation.  Our current college students are leaving as they graduate, ready to take on the world with a new career whether it is in Exercise Science or Health and Fitness or whether it be as a Physical Educator (or any field for that matter).  My hope and prayer is that as they do, they decide to push athletes and individuals with disabilities and not pity them.  I teach to the philosophy that “There is NO LIMITATION with ADAPTATION!” and am so thankful for the opportunity to teach at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO where as our students are exposed to the field of Adapted Sport and Recreation, their lives are changed!  For the better!

So, as you continue to read and find out information through NCHPAD and these blogs, what are your thoughts for the future generation?  What do you see as an awesome potential in the future to change the view of our kids and adults with disabilities?

On Friday, Jan. 25th, the U. S. Department of Education stated in its blog that, “the Department’s Office for Civil Rights issued guidance clarifying school districts’ existing legal obligations to provide equal access to extracurricular athletic activities to students with disabilities. In addition to explaining those legal obligations, the guidance urges school districts to work with the community organizations to increase athletic opportunities for students with disabilities, such as opportunities outside of the existing extracurricular athletic program.”  Those of us in the disability community here in St. Louis were excited to hear about this guidance hoping that it may be another move in the right direction to increase opportunity for students with disabilities.  This also further shows the need and potential for REAL CHANGE as we rise up a new generation of Ability Thinkers to enter into this crazy world!thinking[1]


Here are some articles on equal opportunity:




Author: Heather Pennington

  • Michael De Rosa

    Yea to the work these educators are doing! If it would help, as a advocate for those with disabilities, I have created, and continue to create empowerment worksheets to assist others to live out a more successful life. My main premise is that we need to see people with disabilities as people first.

  • Heather

    Michael –

    Thanks for the comment! Any chance we can get we emphasize that people are just people (regardless of ability or different ability) is a successful moment. It is so exciting as I see my students start to grasp that! I will check out your site. Keep spreading the word!