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Article of Interest - Inspiration

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Bridges4Kids LogoBoy, Have They Missed the Point!
by Shari Krishnan, Our Children Left Behind, January 8, 2004
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Last night, I had a lot of thank you notes to write. Thank you notes to all of the school people who made my son Nicholas’ winter choir concert a success.

You may recall from yesterday’s homepage Sandy Alperstein’s brief introduction of Nicholas in the context of her son Daniel’s interaction with him. So, as you are now able to guess, Nicholas is one of those kids where his behavior issues related to his disability (autism) have the potential to impede his learning. Thoughtful and common sense planning are essential to his continued school successes.

I started watching the concert, sitting very stiffly on the edge of my auditorium seat. After the first song, I could sit back, slouch in my seat and enjoy the whole concert. Nicholas stood straight and proud on the risers for the full set of songs and required absolutely no adult intervention whatsoever.

The sheets of music were carefully laminated, placed in order, and all attached by an “o” ring. One of the pages included his behavior expectations, and he practiced what they meant for several days prior to the choir concert. Because he belongs to music club, he was familiar with all of the music and had some additional time to practice. At the beginning of the school year, Nicholas’ intuitive choir teacher felt that there were a few songs that my son found very sensitive to his ears (due to sensory issues), and without saying a word to me or anyone else, simply chose to replace them with different songs. A caring classmate who usually sits on the bus with Nicholas in the mornings volunteered to stand next to him to help flip his music, keep him on task, and point to the behavior expectations, as needed. Nicholas sang with his friends. He bowed with everyone else during the applause. My eyes welled with tears of gratitude.

After the concert, a circle of celebration ensued in the front of the auditorium. Nicholas’ music teacher, special education teacher, para pro, counselor, principal, friends, and the other parents all understood that this was a special night. They made the work behind an incredible outcome all look so easy. It was a night that we could all watch, enjoy, rejoice, appreciate, praise, and we could do it together, as a team with our young performer, Nicholas.

Because I have IDEA reauthorization on my mind all of the time these days, as I was driving away from the auditorium, all that I could think was, “Boy, have our legislators missed the point!” Because of IDEA ’97, Nicholas’ kind school staff now just naturally understands why we work toward placement in the least restrictive environment with age appropriate peers, give access to the curriculum, and implement Positive Behavior Support concepts on a daily basis. And, most importantly, Nicholas was able to have a successful outcome that everyone could feel good about. It has been a win for Nicholas, the school staff that supports him, and our family. The school has been the leader in building Nicholas’ community.

I want to continue having more nights like last night and having the honor of writing thank you notes to everyone, since it reminds me of all of the incredible decisions that are made each and every day to help my son look like he is “just standing there.” I'm energized.

If you are ever at a loss for subjects to discuss with your legislators, think about all of the times that your child was successful, and describe to your legislators and their staff what it takes for your son or daughter to have and enjoy those successes. Explain what it took from the staff and how the outcomes for your child were positive as a result of it. Our job, as parents, is to help humanize IDEA, put faces and attach lives to it, and to help our legislators stop missing the point of what IDEA is all about. What we bring to the table can help clarify what the differences are between our sons and daughters just “being there” physically at school and participating and progressing in so many more ways.

We'd love to hear how IDEA has helped you, so please share your stories with us too!

Thanks for everything that you do. It is a nice feeling to march in battle for IDEA with all of you.

Have a nice day.


Shari Krishnan, today’s

Our Children Left Behind [OCLB] was created and is owned/operated by parent volunteers (Sandy Alperstein, Tricia & Calvin Luker, Shari Krishnan, and Debi Lewis). Permission to forward, copy, and/or post this article is granted provided that it is attributed to the author(s) and  For more about OCLB or to share information, please contact


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