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photo How Come You Walk Funny?
By Tina Hahn & James Weyman

Finding a good kindergarten is tough, but finding a school that works for the Bowen twins is an even bigger challenge. Douglas is an able-bodied, bouncy 4-year-old, while his brother Mark has cerebral palsy from oxygen deprivation at birth. Their mother has worked hard to include Mark in all aspects of their family life, but what happens when it's time for the boys to go to school?

This video profiles a unique experiment in early childhood education. At Toronto's Bloorview MacMillan Children's Center, 21 four-to-six year-olds, half of whom use walkers, crutches, or wheelchairs, take part in a "reverse integration" kindergarten classroom. Here, wheelchairs and other mobility equipment compete for space with scooters and trikes in the halls; computer voices from communication devices mix with excited children's chatter. In this program, a group of parents have chosen to enroll their non-disabled kids in a school designed for children with physical disabilities. Its goals are to promote inclusive behavior in the non-disabled children and self-advocacy skills in those with disabilities.

Over the course of one academic year, the documentary follows several families who have a variety of motivations for choosing the Center. In the Bowen's case, it's simply the best way for the twins to share the same educational experience. But another parent compares it to a language immersion program: "Let's just say we wanted Hanna to go to 'disability immersion' for a couple of years." How Come You Walk Funny? explores the challenges, surprises, and inspirations that confront these parents and their 'kindergarten crusaders' as they tackle their differences and discover common ground through 'finding a way that all can play.'

47 minutes
© 2004
Purchase $179.00 DVD
Order No. QA-418
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-884-7
close captioned

Reviews
"For some of these children, their experience in the program will definitely shape their future — not only who they will be as people, but hopefully who we will be as a society." Heather Gilman, Teacher

"Inspiring and informative. An insightful documentary about an equally insightful educational program. Highly recommended for school libraries, teacher education collections and university curriculum collections." Educational Media Reviews Online

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