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October 2009                                       hand from his and pushed it up and
                                                   then kissed him on the check when
Moments of … Grace                                 she had gotten it upright. He went on
by Karen Cook                                      and said that she returned to stroking
Editor’s Note: Karen Cook is a mother, advocate,   his arm. He said what was so moving
Sunday School teacher and member of the Floyd      for him was the fact that in their
County Navigator Team. This story concerns her
son, Matthew and his friend, Emmie, who is the     world no one else existed but them at
daughter of Sandra Humprheys, the Floyd County     the time, that they were as pure as any
Navigator Team Leader.
                                                   human could ever be. He went on to
                                                   say that it made him realize that we as

         ast night we had a reception              humans do not enjoy the sheer won-
         for the man who has been the              der of who someone is because we let
         interim pastor at our church              our prejudice stand in the way. He
for the past year. He reflected on this            said that he was so thankful that he
year and how he would remember our                 got to witness what love was really all
church and the congregation. It was                about.
so touching, and I cried off and on.

During the service he shared that one
Sunday morning a few weeks ago he
sat with tears streaming down his face
when he looked out and saw Matthew
in his chair and Emmie sitting beside
him. He watched how she gently took
his arm and then put her fingers into
his so they were holding hands, with
the other hand she gently stroked his
                                                   Matthew & Emmie
arm as she continued to hold his
hand. He said as he kept watching he               We never know how our children will
saw Matthew's head flop over and                   touch others’ lives and minister to
Emmie immediately removed her

October 2009                                                                        Page 1
Navigator News

them in ways that only God knows                        several vendors in attendance from
about. Thank you for allowing me the                    different agencies that provide servic-
privilege of being Emmie’s Sunday                       es to children with disabilities, includ-
School teacher and for loving her as                    ing Parent to Parent of Georgia repre-
my own.                                                 sentative Karen Cook. There were a
Navigator Team leaders and members, we would like
                                                        total of approximately 24 people in
to make “Moments of …” a regular feature in our         attendance including participants and
newsletter. If you have moments of any kind to share,   vendors.
please send them to
                                                        The keynote speakers were Amy
                                                        Whitlock, the NW Georgia Unlocking
Resource Fairs: A Great Way                             Autism representative and Mary
to Spend the Day                                        Spenser, DC and Tim Ryan, DC of
                                                        Spenser Family Chiropractic Clinic.

        everal of our Navigator Teams
        around the state have spon-
        sored or participated in Re-
source Fairs this year. Resource fairs
can raise your Team’s profile in your
community, bring families and pro-
fessionals together, identify children
that need to be better served, foster
interaction between organizations,
and also can be a fun way to connect
with your community! Here are sev-
eral stories from across the state.

The Chattooga County Navigator
                                                        Participants at the Autism and Other Developmental
Team, in collaboration with Unlock-                     Disorders Information & Resource Fair (Chattooga
ing Autism, hosted a Resource Fair at                   County) receive helpful information from the ven-
the Chattooga County Library on Sat-
urday April 25, 2009. There were

October 2009                                                                                       Page 2
Navigator News

After hearing the speakers, partici-        also saw the need to provide a forum
pants were able to walk around the          for parents and professionals, and
room and speak with the various ven-        plans are already underway to colla-
dors, ask questions, and get literature.    borate with us next year and make the
Refreshments were provided by the           resource fair even better. Over 50
Chattooga County Navigator Team.            agencies were invited to attend, and
                                            19 participated. Most of the agencies’
The Floyd County Navigator Team
                                            representatives stayed for the PTI
made sure to personalize their Re-
                                            Training afterwards. Even though
source Fair by greeting each guest at
                                            the community attendance was not as
the door. At the fair, which was held
                                            great as anticipated, the professionals
August 8, 2009, each participant was
                                            agreed that there was a lot of useful
given a “check-off” sheet to be
                                            information shared. A great result of
stamped by the exhibitors (like a
                                            the Resource Fair was the fostering of
passport). On the other side was a
                                            relationships and cooperation between
survey, which they could fill out and
                                            professionals and the strengthening of
turn in for a door prize. The exit sur-
veys showed that both parents and
exhibitors found the fair informative       The Chatham County Navigator
and entertaining; it was so successful      Team, in conjunction with the Parent
that the fair will have to be moved to      Advisory Committee, presented the
a larger facility next year!                2009 Transition & Resource Fair on
                                            May 16, 2009. The Fair, which was
The Greater Valdosta Navigator
                                            presented free of charge, was spon-
Team held the first ever Resource
                                            sored by the Department for Excep-
Fair in the area, on September 19,
                                            tional Children, Coastal Georgia
2009, in conjunction with a PTI
                                            Comprehensive Academy PTA,
Training session. The Navigator
                                            Coastal and Southeast Georgia Learn-
Team wanted to hold this resource
                                            ing Resource System (GLRS) and
fair to fill the void left by Parent Uni-
                                            Parent to Parent of Georgia. Work-
versity, which had previously served
                                            shops were held on Medicaid, Social
the community. The school district

October 2009                                                                 Page 3
Navigator News

Social Security Income, Katie Beck-                           These children appreciate diversity more
ett/Deeming Waiver, the NOW/                                  than us, adults.
COMP Waiver Program, transition                               This raises the questions– what is diversi-
planning for preschool, elementa-                             ty? What makes some people more ac-
ry/middle school and high school stu-                         cepting of diversity than others? What role
dents, and critical behavior. Dr. Allen                       does culture play in this? Why should we
Harwood, with 29 years experience in                          be concerned about diversity in this coun-
                                                              try, now? What has diversity got to do with
Special Education, was the keynote
                                                              Georgia? Are we aware of our own cultur-
speaker.                                                      al diversity and how it affects our atti-
                                                              tudes, perceptions and feelings? What
Toolkit to Diversity                                          role does diversity play in our work of
by Aarti Sahgal, Diversity Coordinator, Parent to Parent of
                                                              helping families? And, are we willing to
Georgia                                                       make a commitment to increase our un-
                                                              derstanding of diversity?

       oday, I was a story parent at my
       son’s 3rd grade class. After reading                   What is diversity?
       them a story on accepting differenc-
                                                              Let’s start from the very beginning. Briefly
es, I decided to start a discussion on toler-                 put diversity means - differences. It en-
ance by borrowing an idea from Candid                         compasses all of us and the infinite ways
Camera’s “Green Kid” video. In this, the
                                                              in which we differ from one another.
host Peter Funt questioned youngsters --
using hidden camera and microphone --                         Why should we be concerned about
about a new student who was to join their                     diversity?
class: a boy with green skin. I, too, told
them about this new child with green skin                     Three powerful trends in our society have
who was going to join their class and                         made diversity an important issue. First,
asked them how many would be willing to                       the global market in which United States
sit with this child or play with him and what                 corporations do business has become
would they do if someone teased him or                        highly competitive. The world has become
made fun of them? The answers (as in                          flat. To stay competitive in the world mar-
Candid Camera) always surprise me and                         ket, organizations need to understand di-
make me wonder why at all there is preju-                     verse markets (and people) - their cul-
dice and discrimination in the world!                         tures, their languages, needs, wants and
                                                              customs. For instance, Mc Donald does

October 2009                                                                                        Page 4
Navigator News

not sell cheeseburgers in India because                     on culture and color. US census shows
the cow is sacred! Their fastest selling                    that disability estimates are higher for a
                                                            black & Hispanic person than a white.
item is an “Aaloo Tikki “burger “– a “burg-
er” with a potato patty.                                   According to one estimate, the preva-
                                                            lence of disability in a minority group is
Second, the makeup of the U.S. pop-                         1 ½ - 2 times higher than that of the
ulation has changed dramatically.                           general population.
      Yesterday, 3 in 4 Americans were White.             Interestingly, minority groups with disabil-
       Today, 30 percent of the U.S. population             ity have higher rates of ineligibility for re-
       is people of color. The increase is pri-             habilitation services than the general
       marily due to trends in immigration and              population with disability.
       birth rates.
                                                     The third trend in our society that makes
      Between 1998 and 2008, 70 percent of          understanding diversity important is the
       new workers entering the labor force will     changing concept of America. Individuals
       be women and people of color.                 today are no longer compromising their
                                                     uniqueness to “fit in” but celebrating their
      By 2010, the public school population will
       be 40 percent minority, and the faculty       uniqueness. America traditionally has
       will be 95 percent white.                     been known as the “melting pot”, where
                                                     diverse cultures and ethnicities blend to-
      African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos        gether. The country’s approach to diversi-
       will be the majority population in more       ty was one of assimilation. Newcomers to
       than one-third of the nation’s 50 largest     this country were expected to adapt their
       cities and five of the nation’s states.
                                                     “old world” values and culture to fit the
      By 2025, “minorities” will make up 38%        values and lifestyles of the “new world.”
       of the U.S. population.
                                                     However, today, the terms “mosaic” socie-
Let’s take a closer look at other dimen-             ty and “tossed salad” are replacing the
sions of our current population.                     “melting pot” concept. In a “mosaic” socie-
      When different types of impairment
                                                     ty, individuals maintain their own cultural
       groups are taken as a whole, people with      patterns, such as language, lifestyle, and
       disabilities make up the largest minority     religious practices. Differences are valued
       group, today at 15 percent of the U.S.        and appreciated as in a tossed salad
       population.                                   where “carrots, lettuce, cucumbers, green
      Significant differences exist in the preva-
                                                     peppers, and tomatoes maintain their
       lence and incidence of disabilities based     shapes, color, and taste.”

October 2009                                                                                     Page 5
Navigator News

Dimensions of Diversity                        treat people differently based on these
Diversity has many dimensions because
people differ from one another in many         We have a natural affinity with people who
ways. There are primary dimensions like        share many of our own dimensions of di-
age, ethnicity, gender, physical abili-        versity. Likewise, we tend to feel less
ties/qualities, race and sexual orientation.   comfortable with people who have few
These issues are salient because they          dimensions in common with us. When you
cannot change. Secondary dimensions of         think about your closest friends, are they
diversity are those that can be changed.       similar to you or very different from you?
They include, but are not limited to: edu-     In the past, it was pretty likely that the
cational background, geographic location,      people who lived in your neighborhood,
income, marital status, military expe-         the children you went to school with, the
rience, parental status, religious beliefs,    people you worked and did business with
and work experiences.                          and the people you worshipped with were
                                               people who shared many of your own di-
Based on some of these dimensions we           mensions of diversity. In most aspects of
make split-second decisions about anoth-       our lives, the people we interacted with
er person. When we see another person,         were very similar to ourselves. However,
we notice, make assessments, and make          as our communities become increasingly
decisions about how to interact with that      more diverse, understanding the perspec-
individual almost subconsciously on cer-       tives of diversity will become more impor-
tain parameters. According to Jane Elsea,      tant. Georgia, too, has changed consider-
in her book, The 4 Minute Sell, there are      ably in the last few years. Some of the
nine critical dimensions, based on which       changing demographics in Georgia are
we judge another individual. These are:        summarized below:
gender, facial expression, age, eye con-
tact, skin color, movement, personal                 Did you know Georgia is the 10th most
space, appearance and touch.                          populous state in the country & the fast-
                                                      est growing state in the US?
Take a few minutes to think about your
                                                     Foreign-born Georgians have increased
own community or workplace. Consider                  by 208%, i.e. from 3% in 1990 to 7% in
each of the following dimensions of diver-            2000.
sity. How important is each of these dif-
ferences to the people in your community             Nearly 9% speak a foreign language at
or workplace? Are people treated dif-                 home as compared to 4% in 1990.
ferently based on these factors? Do you

October 2009                                                                            Page 6
Navigator News
        Roughly 1 in every 4 of the state’s cur-         And every county should have at least one post
         rent residents did not live here 10 years        on their county page. Please check your page
         ago.                                             here
                                                          Send items you want posted to Karen Shavzin
        African Americans constitute 29% of the

        Hispanic/Latinos are the fastest growing         Don’t forget to check out the Navigator Team
         group & represent nearly 6% of the entire                       Project calendar at
         9% of Georgians are foreign-born, with          Please let Karen S. know about your upcoming
         the majority coming from Mexico, Ger-              Navigator Team events so we can publicize
         many, Korea, India and Jamaica.                                     them here!

Let me leave you with a thought - ARE                     Coming in the next issue – look for our ar-
YOU READY FOR DIVERSITY? In our                           ticle about Proms and get ideas about how
Toolkit to Diversity – Part II we will add the            your Navigator Team can promote proms
ingredient “culture” and see how it will in-              for students with disabilities!
fluence diversity. How does it affect us
and our interactions with the families that                 As always, please send ideas for upcoming
we serve?                                                    articles or things you’d like to see in the
Source credit: An Overview of Diversity Awareness- PENN                  Navigator News to
State, College of Agricultural Sciences                             Karen S
                                                                    Or call her at (770) 855-5658.

New Emails, County Pages
& Calendar

           y now, all Team Leaders should be
           using the new Parent to Parent email
           – Don’t forget to
           check it regularly, as it will soon be
the only email publicized for your Navigator

October 2009                                                                                       Page 7