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SPEAKout Blog

NATURE FOR ALL: Getting Out into Nature with Disabilities

As a Dad of a daughter who experiences disabilities and as a professional who has spent his career working in National, State and City parks conserving nature and building trails, I found myself at odds when I realized a lot of my work that I had felt proud of in the past was just another barrier to accepting my daughter for who she was and preventing her from finding herself and living life to the fullest, especially in nature. WhenRead more

31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

This week is a very important week as July 26th marks the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Passed by Congress and signed into law by the President on July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act makes it possible for everyone with a disability to live a life of freedom and equality. As we continue on this journey to social justice, we stand in support of and defend equality. And let us recognize that together, taking actionRead more
Hiking with a child who uses a wheelchair has its challenges and its opportunities. The first time we tried hiking with our daughter Lydia, we knew nothing about what it would take. Getting ready took us longer than the actual hike! We spent an hour checking and re-checking our packing list, a couple of hours driving to the trailhead, twenty minutes unloading everything from the car and setting up Lydia with all her accessories in the wheelchair. But the accessibleRead more

For Teachers: A Note of Appreciation

In preschool, it was Miss Patti. In elementary school, it was Elizabeth Patrick, Kathy Samuels, and Marlene Fisher. My secondary schooling provided fewer educators that positively impacted me, but Burnham Whittington, my Advanced English teacher from junior year comes to mind. Miss Patti - I don’t remember much about her - if that was her first name or her last, or what she looked like, but I know she made me feel safe, welcomed, and loved. Ms. Patrick made meRead more
This week the nation seemed to breathe a sigh of relief when on Tuesday a Minnesota jury delivered the verdict declaring Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the death of George Floyd. After a year of unrest and a number of other deaths suffered in the Black community, this verdict is a glimmer of hope for reform and needed change within our systems. At PEAK, we work for inclusion, equity, and social justice, not just for those with disabilities,Read more
Each day I look out my office window the grass is a little greener, there are buds on the trees and warm weather has begun to tease its way through early spring. Welcome to April, the month where aside from Earth Day, Child Abuse Prevention Month, International Children’s Book Day, and Tax Day, we have Autism Awareness Month. Autism awareness brings with it some heated dialogue. Most people are already aware of autism. Some have opted to replace the wordRead more
By Anna Marcus & Leann Springer Around the world, children are excluded from schools where they belong because of disability, race, language, religion, gender, and poverty. PEAK’s mission, as you probably already know, is to provide training, information, and technical assistance to equip families with strategies to advocate successfully for their children. As a result of these services children and adults will live rich, active lives participating as full members of their schools and communities. We know that an inclusiveRead more