• A Positive Vision for Kids with Disabilities | Genia Stephen | Episode 203

  • We’ve heard a lot about inclusion recently as it pertains to race and ethnicity. But what about disabilities? What happens when we have kids with disabilities? Genia Stephen is a mom, an advocate, and she has a son with disabilities. Genia joins Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler to talk about community, school, home, expectations for our disabled kids and what it means for the families without a disabled child.

    Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Player FM | iheartradio | Castbox | Podchaser | Overcast

    A Favorite Quote from the Show

    The social model of disability recognizes the impairment exists but also that the impairment isn’t the whole person. It recognizes that impairment in the human condition is normal.

    High Points From Our Conversation About a Positive Vision for Kids With Disabilities:

    Inclusion is something we all aspire to but aren’t really achieving.

    Research shows all students benefit from being educated together, both academically and socially.

    Differentiated instruction, flexible teaching, multi-modal teaching methods help all students whether they have disabilities or not.

    Kids learn to function in the real world with the full diversity of our communities. This allows them to become higher forming adults when they need to function effectively with all of humanity.

    We need to expect our kids with disabilities to be contributing members of the household. Have them contribute according to their disabilities.

    Expect kids with disabilities to be team members, club members, hold a part-time job, whatever they are capable of.

    Parents of kids with disabilities are indoctrinated into the medical model. This model tells us impairment is bad and the pathway to a good life is therapy and intervention to mitigate the disability.

    Dehumanizing language is used when a child is born with disabilities. Parents are presented with a list of complications and limitations. 

    The IEP process is incredibly deficiency focused, talking about what kids can’t do instead of building on their strengths or looking at what they can do.

    If parents don’t have space to take a step back so they can look at alternative big ideas on how they can perceive and understand how they can support their kids with disabilities then they will have unreasonable low expectations of their kids and what’s possible for their kids.

    The social model of disability recognizes the impairment exists but also that the impairment isn’t the whole person. It recognizes that impairment in the human condition is normal. Actually, the biggest problems for people with disabilities are external to them such as attitudes as well as structural and systems barriers.

    The Good Things in Life podcast helps parents hear positive ideas about their child with disabilities. We need to unpack the problem of discrimination and devaluation of people with disabilities.

    People with disabilities face extreme discrimination and truncation of opportunities.

    We can examine our own assumptions and attitudes about disability. It’s our responsibility to unpack how we’re contributing to the problem.

    Think about where you can build bridges to those with disabilities. 

    Just ask, “What do you need in order for this to work for you?”


    Good Things in Life podcast

    Our Guest Genia Stephen:

    Genia Stephen helps kids with intellectual disabilities build inclusive lives at home, at school and in the community. She is the founder and host of the Good Things In Life For Kids With Disabilities Podcast and manages a community of parents of children with disabilities. 

    Having a younger sister and son with disabilities and medical complexities led her to a lifetime of training in the disability field under premier thought leaders and mentors. With more than 20,000 downloads, her podcast now gives other parents access to her world-class disability parenting education, complete with courses and membership. She is a practicing midwife and medical advocate currently completing her MSc. in Evidence-Based Health Care at the University of Oxford. 

    Featured in Travel Without Limits Magazine and Community Living Ontario, as well as multiple top-rated podcasts, Genia speaks about creating a positive vision for kids with disabilities, getting the good things in life through valued social roles and social capital, and medical safeguarding.

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit https://goodthingsinlife.org/ 

    From Sandy:

    Are you stressed but don’t have time to deal with it? Grab Sandy Fowler’s complimentary lesson at http://sandyfowler.com/notime to find out how to start feeling better today.

    How to Talk to Your Teen—free email series at https://MightyParenting.com