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Seeing Beyond The Disabilities to the Possibilities with Guest Dr.Dawn Menge
Episode 3713th April 2022 • The 6570 Family Project • Nellie Harden
00:00:00 00:37:44

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A person is a person before they are autistic or labeled with a severe developmental delay.  Dr.Dawn Menge is a teacher and author with decades of experience in the world of special needs and has spent her life helping families help their children become the best version of themselves despite the hurdles and challenges. Going to the movies, to a restaurant, making an income, and traveling and learning are all still accessible and possible and in this conversation, we dive into the resilience needed by the team of parent, child, and teacher, admin, support therapies and more.  This is a must-listen for everyone because being aware, being respectful, and being informed to see people as people will only shape the world into a better place.

About the Guest:

Dr. Dawn Menge has won over forty-one International awards as the author of the Queen Vernita educational series including the Special recognition champion award from conquering disabilities with film festival. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, a Master's Degree and a Clear Credential in moderate/severe disabilities, and a Bachelor's Degree in human development. Dr. Menge has been teaching students with severe cognitive delays for over twenty years. She has three children and six beautiful grandchildren and lives in Southern California.

https://www.drdawnmenge.com/

http://www.Instagram.com/dawnmenge

http://www.Facebook.com/Dawn.menge1

About the Host:

Nellie Harden is a wife of 20+ years, mom to 4 teen/tween daughters, dreamer, adventurer, servant, multipreneur, forever student, and a devoted teacher, but her ride-or-die passion is her work as a Family Life Coach & Mentor. 

Coming from a career background in marine mammal sciences, behavioral work, and a host of big life experiences, both great and not some not so great, she decided that designing a life of purpose and freedom was how she and her husband, along with their 4 daughters, wanted to live. 

Her work and passions exist in the realms of family and parent mentorship because she believes that a family filled with creativity, fun, laughter, challenge, adventure, problem-solving, hugs, good food, and learning can not only change a person’s life but is the best chance at positively changing the world. 

She helps families build Self-Led Discipline™ & Leadership Into their homes, sets their children up for a wildly successful life on their terms, and elevates the family experience with big joy, palpable peace, and everyday growth!

With a lifelong passion and curiosity in thought, choice, behavior, and growth she has found incredible joy in helping families shift perspective, find answers, and a path forward.

 

(Nellie has been coaching families for over 10 years and has degrees in Biology, Animal Behavior and Psychology. ) 

 

LINKS:

Family Success Vault- https://www.nellieharden.com/vault

Website- https://www.nellieharden.com

Online Community- https://www.facebook.com/groups/the6570project

Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/nellieharden/   

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/nellie.harden/

 

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Transcripts

Nellie Harden:

Hello and welcome to the 6570 family project

Nellie Harden:

podcast. If you are a parent of a tween teen or somewhere on the

Nellie Harden:

way, this is exactly the place for you. This is the playground

Nellie Harden:

for parents who want to raise their kids with intention,

Nellie Harden:

strength and joy. Come and hear all the discussions, get all the

Nellie Harden:

tactics and have lots of laughs along the way. We will dive into

Nellie Harden:

the real challenges and raising kids today how to show up as

Nellie Harden:

parents and teach your kids how to show up as members of the

Nellie Harden:

family and individuals of the world. My name is Mellie Hardin,

Nellie Harden:

big city girl turn small town sipping iced tea on the front

Nellie Harden:

porch mama, who loves igniting transformation in the hearts and

Nellie Harden:

minds of families by helping them build self love, discipline

Nellie Harden:

and leadership that elevate the family experience, and sets the

Nellie Harden:

kids up with a rock solid foundation, they can launch

Nellie Harden:

their life on all before they ever leave home. This is the

Nellie Harden:

6570 family project. Let's go Hello, everyone. Welcome back to

Nellie Harden:

another episode of the 6570 family project podcast where we

Nellie Harden:

are taking the first 6570 days of our children's lives where we

Nellie Harden:

are the architects and we are building the beginning of

Nellie Harden:

someone else's life. And we are building it strong with a

Nellie Harden:

foundation that they can take with confidence, respect and

Nellie Harden:

wisdom into the rest of their lives. You guys I have a very

Nellie Harden:

special guest on today. Because we live in a world of very

Nellie Harden:

different people, I always say there is no such thing as

Nellie Harden:

normal, right? Normal is actually just the average of all

Nellie Harden:

the abnormal there's no two people, even if you have an

Nellie Harden:

identical twin, there is no two people on this planet that are

Nellie Harden:

exactly the same that think the same behave the same. We are all

Nellie Harden:

very different from one another. And in some ways, and some

Nellie Harden:

people we have families with children with severe

Nellie Harden:

developmental delays, right. And we are going to be speaking to

Nellie Harden:

and for those families today with Dr. Don Menge, or Dr. Don.

Nellie Harden:

And she has won over 41 international awards and is the

Nellie Harden:

author of an incredible series that I highly recommend you run

Nellie Harden:

out and get after this. There's 13 in the series right now their

Nellie Harden:

children's book called Queen Vernita is educational series.

Nellie Harden:

And it is it's gotten recognitions everywhere

Nellie Harden:

including special recognition champion from conquering death

Nellie Harden:

disabilities Film Festival. And it really teaches families and

Nellie Harden:

whether you are a family with a child with severe developmental

Nellie Harden:

delays or you are a child or a family with a child that doesn't

Nellie Harden:

or is just typical, abnormal, right? Then you are going to

Nellie Harden:

want this series because it sees people for people first and then

Nellie Harden:

diagnosis later on. And this series is so special so

Nellie Harden:

beautifully illustrated, so beautifully written out that it

Nellie Harden:

helps everyone understand when they see someone out in the

Nellie Harden:

public that they are a person with wants and dreams and

Nellie Harden:

capabilities and possibilities, just like they are no matter

Nellie Harden:

what. So definitely go out and get this series after you're

Nellie Harden:

done listening today. Don has a bachelor's bachelor's degree in

Nellie Harden:

Human Development and she has been teaching students with

Nellie Harden:

severe cognitive delays for over 20 years. She has three children

Nellie Harden:

and six beautiful grandchildren and lives in the beautiful

Nellie Harden:

Southern California you guys she has a PhD in Curriculum and

Nellie Harden:

Instruction she is someone you are going to want to hear and

Nellie Harden:

listen to, to grow your heart five sizes today. I can't wait

Nellie Harden:

to get started. Let's go ahead and jump in with our discussion

Nellie Harden:

with Don. Hi, everyone. Welcome back. I'm so excited to get to

Nellie Harden:

talk with Dr. Don today about her work with families. And I've

Nellie Harden:

told you a bit about her and the work that she does. But I first

Nellie Harden:

I just want to welcome you to the podcast.

Dr. Dawn Menge:

Thank you for having me.

Nellie Harden:

Absolutely. I'm so excited to have you here.

Nellie Harden:

fellow author and also even more importantly, the work that you

Nellie Harden:

do and the message that your books can relay on to families

Nellie Harden:

today. So you're obviously a leader in the work of special

Nellie Harden:

needs and severe developed developmental delays with

Nellie Harden:

children and families. Can you tell me what is your journey?

Nellie Harden:

How did you get to the place that you are at today in helping

Nellie Harden:

families?

Dr. Dawn Menge:

Well, it actually started when I started

Dr. Dawn Menge:

going to junior college. I worked in my mom's classroom she

Dr. Dawn Menge:

was a kindergarten teacher. So I was receiving credit at the

Dr. Dawn Menge:

junior college for that. And so she kind of taught me how to be

Dr. Dawn Menge:

a teacher, and how to care for the students in the family. And

Dr. Dawn Menge:

then when I started working in special ed, I actually started

Dr. Dawn Menge:

as an assistant. And I had two amazing teachers that mentored

Dr. Dawn Menge:

me. And they're the ones that kept me in here in when I'm

Dr. Dawn Menge:

doing and helped me to fight for students. And I don't think if I

Dr. Dawn Menge:

had not had those two mentors, as an assistant, I probably

Dr. Dawn Menge:

would not have stayed. You know, most teachers leave the first

Dr. Dawn Menge:

year is the hardest and five, five years, you know, or you're

Dr. Dawn Menge:

lucky, if you've gone past five years, then you're doing good.

Dr. Dawn Menge:

And I've been teaching for 21 years at least. And I was an

Dr. Dawn Menge:

assistant for three and a half years after that. So you know,

Dr. Dawn Menge:

I've hung in there and have had some momentum, oh, sorry, some

Dr. Dawn Menge:

incredible experiences with my students and my parents. I was

Dr. Dawn Menge:

very lucky. When I started as an assistant. And when I became a

Dr. Dawn Menge:

teacher, I actually took the same students with me. And I got

Dr. Dawn Menge:

two very, very great aides who had the we had the same

Dr. Dawn Menge:

philosophy, and that's really important in the classroom, is

Dr. Dawn Menge:

to have the same philosophies. And we got to keep the students,

Dr. Dawn Menge:

our students stay until their 22nd birthday. So we went from

Dr. Dawn Menge:

the junior high the elementary to the junior high to the high

Dr. Dawn Menge:

school, and then we had an adult center in the community. And we

Dr. Dawn Menge:

kept the same students and we had a little business and we

Dr. Dawn Menge:

went everywhere, they worked in the community. We they worked in

Dr. Dawn Menge:

the college, and we just had a great time until they they just

Dr. Dawn Menge:

graduated and grew up.

Nellie Harden:

So in the adult center, they get to stay there

Nellie Harden:

until they're 22.

Unknown:

Anywhere in special ed, they stay up until their 22nd

Unknown:

birthday. And that could be on campus. It depends on where

Unknown:

they're located as depends on their abilities.

Nellie Harden:

Okay, all right. And then in the adult center,

Nellie Harden:

they got to go even further than that.

Unknown:

Well, they stayed until their 22nd birthday. And they

Unknown:

were able to like we wrote the city bus, okay, college, and

Unknown:

they took a restaurant class, they got college credit, we

Unknown:

worked in probably five different businesses and the

Unknown:

little town that we lived in, we made these Christmas trees out

Unknown:

of hangers, oh, like Sodom and garland, and the students made

Unknown:

them off. And we sold them. And so we use that to fund a lot of

Unknown:

our bus trips. And we went all over the place to the beach to

Unknown:

the movies. I grew up in the mountains. I live in Southern

Unknown:

California, and I grew up in small town, and we got to go

Unknown:

snow skiing when we were growing up. So I was teaching in the

Unknown:

same district, and I wanted my students to have that same

Unknown:

experience. So I got some grants. And we went snow scheme

Unknown:

for about four years we did that. And if I had not had such

Unknown:

a solid relationship with the parents, we would not have been

Unknown:

able to do that. You know, and all of my students participated.

Unknown:

The one I had some high high ones who learned how to

Unknown:

snowboard. And then I had some other ones that they use, they

Unknown:

call them rains, and they hooked them to the front of the skis.

Unknown:

And they were guided by the ski instructors. And then there are

Unknown:

other ones who have might have seizure disorders or weren't

Unknown:

strong enough. They actually were in a sled. And they took

Unknown:

them down in the sled. So they got to do that. And it was just

Unknown:

amazing. You know, we loved it. There was one time though the

Unknown:

wind was blowing. And it actually blew the chair off the

Unknown:

boil that makes it go around. Oh, goodness, one of my little

Unknown:

girls was on there. And so I'm standing under there, you know,

Unknown:

I don't know what he's gonna do catch her. And then as

Unknown:

instructors are like, you know, ma'am, you have to go with her.

Unknown:

And I said, No, I'm her teacher. And I'm staying right here until

Unknown:

you bring her down. And you know me, I would have been terrified,

Unknown:

you know that it's swinging. And she had to get on this little

Unknown:

piece of wood, sit on this little piece of wood and they

Unknown:

got her down by the rope. And she was perfectly fine. And I

Unknown:

would have been like hysterical, but I'm like up we're going in.

Unknown:

So we've had some experiences. When we were in high school. I

Unknown:

wanted to take them swimming with the dolphins because I love

Unknown:

doing that. I've done that in several different places. So we

Unknown:

arranged to go to SeaWorld. And my students, we had one of those

Unknown:

thermometers that you see where they raise money. So we had one

Unknown:

of those, and we recycled and Manna Christmas trees and all of

Unknown:

this. And we actually went swimming with the dolphins and

Unknown:

SeaWorld and all of the parents got to come for free. And we put

Unknown:

our wetsuits on and we did that and it was amazing.

Nellie Harden:

Wow, wow. And I I know that knowing the parents

Nellie Harden:

and having that relationship with the parents and with the

Nellie Harden:

family and that continuation of that relationship is so so so

Nellie Harden:

important. Even with so my my oldest daughter when we just

Nellie Harden:

were jumping around schools with her week wouldn't find quite a

Nellie Harden:

right fit. And we finally found a really good fit. But it was in

Nellie Harden:

a private school. And it was really expensive. And I had

Nellie Harden:

three kids coming up underneath. And there was no way that we

Nellie Harden:

were going to be able to sustain that. And so we did transition

Nellie Harden:

to a public school. But I had a relationship with that teacher

Nellie Harden:

that I knew that she was going to get that following year, for

Nellie Harden:

about six, seven months before she went in. And we would talk

Nellie Harden:

and we met a couple of times, and we really went over, you

Nellie Harden:

know how best for Skyler my oldest to be trance transferred

Nellie Harden:

or transition into a public school. And so her first year

Nellie Harden:

was great. But then after that, I realized it really started

Nellie Harden:

going down her experience in the public school system. And I

Nellie Harden:

realized I didn't have that relationship that I had with

Nellie Harden:

that first teacher. And we didn't get to talk as much. And

Nellie Harden:

we didn't, she didn't get to know my child as much before she

Nellie Harden:

was a student of hers, and even throughout the entire year, and

Nellie Harden:

so year after year, after that, we started noticing some

Nellie Harden:

declines. So anyway, that was part of the reason in our story,

Nellie Harden:

why we started homeschooling seven years ago, and now she's

Nellie Harden:

over in the public school for high school, and she does dual

Nellie Harden:

enrollment with college. But it really was that relationship

Nellie Harden:

between the parents and that communication between parents

Nellie Harden:

and child, especially, I think if you have this, you know,

Nellie Harden:

severe developmental delays in your family going on is

Nellie Harden:

imperative. And my mom actually worked in the special education

Nellie Harden:

for years after I graduated high school and left home, she

Nellie Harden:

started working as an assistant in the elementary schools, which

Nellie Harden:

over the course of a couple of decades ended up that she was an

Nellie Harden:

assistant in the middle schools for special education for

Nellie Harden:

several several years. And the stories that I would hear were

Nellie Harden:

inspiring and heartbreaking depending on the family and the

Nellie Harden:

communication that was going on between teacher, parent child

Nellie Harden:

and that whole trio dynamic there. So with that, you know,

Nellie Harden:

in the 6570 family project, when we're really focusing on these,

Nellie Harden:

you know, these 6570 days, that we are the high impact, high

Nellie Harden:

influence in their lives, which if they have severe

Nellie Harden:

developmental delays is maybe even longer than that, and maybe

Nellie Harden:

even a lifetime. But still, within that time, we're talking

Nellie Harden:

about developing as a parent, as a child, helping your child

Nellie Harden:

develop and as a team, which you as a teacher, as a special needs

Nellie Harden:

teacher would be a part of that team as well. You were

Nellie Harden:

developing, you know, vision, discipline, resilience and

Nellie Harden:

vulnerability in there. And resilience, I think, is

Nellie Harden:

something that I would love to hear you speak on their

Nellie Harden:

resilience, from the parents perspective, from your

Nellie Harden:

perspective as the teacher and also from the child and any

Nellie Harden:

stories that you have in there. Because I know, it's so

Nellie Harden:

imperative in order to help build that leg, the resilience.

Unknown:

Sometimes the parents come in and they're just, they

Unknown:

have they have nothing left. Yeah, you know, their child has

Unknown:

been in the hospital, or they have severe behaviors. You know,

Unknown:

it affects the families, the marriages, the the siblings, and

Unknown:

sometimes the siblings get forgotten. You know, because

Unknown:

they this, this power was simple Express gives me the child with

Unknown:

special needs and needs so much. And so when they come to us,

Unknown:

they need to understand that we're on their side, you know,

Unknown:

where they're where their support system, or not, you

Unknown:

know, the enemy, you know, sometimes they think the system

Unknown:

itself. But we are a team, like you said, we have the teacher,

Unknown:

and we have the parent, the student, there's whatever

Unknown:

services are, are, there's administration, you go, you go

Unknown:

to them, and you say I need this, or I don't know what to

Unknown:

do. I have parents who say, I don't know what to do, you know,

Unknown:

I had a little boy, he was he was actually just doing

Unknown:

something teenagers as he was getting on YouTube. And she's

Unknown:

like, I don't know what to do. And I said, he's, he's 12 he's

Unknown:

acting like a 12 year old, it's okay. Setup overall, you know,

Unknown:

do the YouTube, you know, block the YouTube, so you'll get to

Unknown:

see kids and then they were fine. You know, but you have to

Unknown:

remember that their children, their children who have special

Unknown:

needs. So, you know, sometimes we forget that or they become so

Unknown:

they look at the children get this learned helplessness, where

Unknown:

they're just so engrained on doing things on their own. So

Unknown:

there are a lot of the resilience and just being able

Unknown:

to bounce back and to know that you know what, you're not going

Unknown:

to be perfect and it's going to change from moment to moment.

Unknown:

You know, I have autistic students where they're having

Unknown:

severe behaviors and one one week this works and Next weekend

Unknown:

doesn't work at all, you know, it, there's a lot of give and

Unknown:

take, and you just have to do it from your heart. I think that's

Unknown:

really, that's what keeps you going. Something I did, I was I

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just actually had a meeting today with the parent. And I

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forgot to bring the article I wanted to I was like, Oh, we did

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this. So this is one of the things we did, what we did with

Unknown:

the workability, is we work for a company, a little store up

Unknown:

here in the mountains, and they put tags on the winter hats. And

Unknown:

so this is him doing it. And I was telling his dad, because

Unknown:

he's part of the workability program. And I'm like, Oh, I

Unknown:

didn't read the article to show you. But we get movie tickets,

Unknown:

and we ride this community bus. And we get to go to the movies.

Unknown:

So they learn all sorts of skills from this. But when I

Unknown:

started, after I closed my they closed my adult center, because

Unknown:

everybody grew up, then we started, I started in a whole

Unknown:

new district with a whole new set of students. And they were

Unknown:

lower functioning. And I was, so I was trying to get them out

Unknown:

onto the campus and go to lunch and, and things and I got a lot

Unknown:

of resistance from on campus, the teachers, the staff, they,

Unknown:

they didn't think our students should be out of their

Unknown:

classrooms. And so I would talk to the parents about what I was

Unknown:

trying to teach them and why I was trying to teach them this,

Unknown:

you know how to stand in line, how to go out in the community,

Unknown:

oh, you're not taking my child in the community, because they

Unknown:

can't take them out. You know, we took them out, and they ran

Unknown:

off and said, No, we need to teach them, you know, a lot of

Unknown:

the parents get to the point where they don't even take their

Unknown:

child anywhere with them, they leave them at home, so they can

Unknown:

run their errands. But that isn't functional, you know, that

Unknown:

isn't functional for them. So it's there's a lot I think the

Unknown:

resilience that comes from is just being able to be a little

Unknown:

more open to what your child can do. And the resources that are

Unknown:

out there and what you need to do with them.

Nellie Harden:

Absolutely, and I, you talk about change, and,

Nellie Harden:

you know, in parenting change happens constantly, no matter

Nellie Harden:

what. And I think, especially with difficulties and challenges

Nellie Harden:

like this, they the pendulum swings even further, right. And

Nellie Harden:

so being okay with change being okay with you know what, in

Nellie Harden:

setting those, those standards before you go out, like we're

Nellie Harden:

gonna go out, and our goal is to get to the store. And to come

Nellie Harden:

back, right, we're gonna get to the store, we are going to maybe

Nellie Harden:

hold hands, we're going to go up and down a couple aisles, and

Nellie Harden:

then we're going to come back, whether you get something and

Nellie Harden:

it's productive for what you need to do, but doing these

Nellie Harden:

smaller tasks, right, would be an act toward working toward

Nellie Harden:

that functional life that they're looking for.

Unknown:

Yes, yes. And, you know, sometimes you have to

Unknown:

start really small in our and but it was just, you know, when

Unknown:

when I first started and I get a new student, and I thought,

Unknown:

Okay, we're gonna go do this, and they're like, No, you're not

Unknown:

gonna, like, no, so they come with us. And then they get to

Unknown:

see they, you know, it's like, Come Come with us, you know, so

Unknown:

they show up when we're eating out, and they eat with us. And

Unknown:

they get to know the staff and other students and the parents.

Unknown:

And then they're like, Oh, this is okay. You know, but it's just

Unknown:

such a new thing for them. Sometimes. They don't know that

Unknown:

we have programs after they leave public education. There

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are programs and the programs that they get into depend on how

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much they can do and how much we can teach them while they're in

Unknown:

school. So we try to push them while we get the chance. So if

Unknown:

we teach if they my students go out, and they work at CVS, they

Unknown:

work in Walgreens. And if they do that, they ride a community

Unknown:

bus, they know how to pay, you know, they know how to give them

Unknown:

the bus passes. Then when they leave us, they can go into a

Unknown:

program where they can get a small paycheck. Sometimes they

Unknown:

can actually we have like warehouses, where they work in

Unknown:

the assemble things. And they work, it's a job, they have to

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come to work, they have to work, they have to do everything

Unknown:

they're supposed to do. And if they don't, then they're out and

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another person gets to come in. So they need to learn all of

Unknown:

those skills, so that they can earn their own money and we all

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take pride in earning our own our own way. You know, when we

Unknown:

were trying to earn the money to go to SeaWorld, it was a lot of

Unknown:

money. And there was some issues and the school board actually

Unknown:

offered to pay for our trip. And I stood up in the meeting and I

Unknown:

said no, my students want to earn their own money and they

Unknown:

have the right to do that. And so they did they earned it all

Unknown:

and they felt pride in watching you know, the thermometer go up.

Unknown:

And we forget that even though someone has a special need, they

Unknown:

are they're still a person first. And they have the same

Unknown:

needs and wants we do they just have to sometimes go about it a

Unknown:

different way.

Nellie Harden:

Right? I was actually just earlier today I

Nellie Harden:

was reading through an article on Instagram, and it was talking

Nellie Harden:

about though this is someone that classifies herself as

Nellie Harden:

autistic, and she is on the spectrum. And she was talking

Nellie Harden:

about how that autistic people are not given the same freedom

Nellie Harden:

to have diversity within themselves as typical, which

Nellie Harden:

called neurotypical people, right? I am, I am one that I,

Nellie Harden:

you know, there is no normal normal is just the average of

Nellie Harden:

abnormal, you know, and so, but I do see her point, kind of what

Nellie Harden:

you were saying with the teachers on campus and things

Nellie Harden:

like that, like, oh, you can't bring them out of the classroom,

Nellie Harden:

you can't, you know, they need to stay in this box, right? They

Nellie Harden:

have, they have been diagnosed with this, even though

Nellie Harden:

everything they've been diagnosed with, is all over it,

Nellie Harden:

no pun intended, but all over the spectrum, right. And, and so

Nellie Harden:

even though they're also different, they're being you

Nellie Harden:

know, put into this little box of a classroom and stay there,

Nellie Harden:

stay there nice and neat. So we don't have to worry about you,

Nellie Harden:

we don't have to deal with you. And so I'm just so thankful that

Nellie Harden:

there's people like you out in the world out in communities

Nellie Harden:

that can truly reach in and have yourself have, you know, the

Nellie Harden:

vulnerability and discipline and vision and resilience to get out

Nellie Harden:

there and help these children and these families so that they

Nellie Harden:

can go and lead successful functional lives. And it is a

Nellie Harden:

possibility. So I'm just so thankful for that. And I want to

Nellie Harden:

transition over to this wonderful book series that you

Nellie Harden:

have. And this is all about Queen Vernita. And I want to

Nellie Harden:

know all about her and how you are using this character to

Nellie Harden:

transform families.

Unknown:

Well, it actually started when I was getting my

Unknown:

credential, it was an assignment in my math class. So when the

Unknown:

very first one I wrote I actually had my students in it.

Unknown:

And it was called Queen Victoria. And I got a grant from

Unknown:

Cal Poly. And we went around to the elementary schools. And we

Unknown:

did this little skits. And I would go back the next day, and

Unknown:

I would explain my students behaviors, and their

Unknown:

disabilities, too. We did it up to first and second grade. So

Unknown:

when I decided I wanted to publish it, I then named it

Unknown:

after my grandmother for Nida. And everyone in the first book

Unknown:

is a member of my family, this, this is my mother, and this is

Unknown:

her birthday in September. So the format is that it has 12

Unknown:

months, and the Queen has 12 visitors. And then there are

Unknown:

seven activities for that month. This one is the first one. It's

Unknown:

pre K, this is my nephew. And so I started winning awards and

Unknown:

getting interviews. And everybody's well what are you

Unknown:

going to write about it? Well, I love to travel, got it from my

Unknown:

grandmother and my mother. So the Queen travels around her

Unknown:

kingdom and learns about the different areas. So I'm down

Unknown:

publishing my 13th book. It's 170 awards so far, this summer

Unknown:

won a bunch of film festival awards, and one of them was the

Unknown:

conquering disabilities with Film Festival. And I won that

Unknown:

because I have some of my students in my books. And this

Unknown:

is Connor, and he was my student for several years. And he moved

Unknown:

down from his death with to a debt, his dad's house, and

Unknown:

you're having, oh my gosh, he was having a really hard time

Unknown:

adjusting. And so it was pretty difficult when we first got him.

Unknown:

But his dad, let me put him in the book. And he has a

Unknown:

communication device because he's nonverbal. So he's teaching

Unknown:

the Queen all about his communication device, and why he

Unknown:

uses it. But they're also learning about the volcanic

Unknown:

National Park. So in my books, the students there, I've usually

Unknown:

put about two in each book. And they're just children who are

Unknown:

living living their lives. Him and his dad are at the volcanic

Unknown:

National Park. And he's teaching the Queen about his

Unknown:

communication device. So if a child is reading this, and then

Unknown:

let go, and it's just seven facts about it. And if they see

Unknown:

a child on campus with a communication device, they'll

Unknown:

say, okay, they're not playing video games, or how can they get

Unknown:

to have theirs. It's how they're communicating. So we need to

Unknown:

address the device. And even if a parent is reading this, and

Unknown:

they're working in the community, and someone comes up

Unknown:

with this iPad, or whatever, and they're like, you know, what are

Unknown:

we doing, and then they know what to look at it and then this

Unknown:

is how the child is trying to communicate with them. Are they

Unknown:

adult, you know, whoever's using it. This one, this sort of girl.

Unknown:

She has Rett syndrome, and her name is Ireland, and her mom's

Unknown:

name is Heather. And they are making Lay's for her classmates

Unknown:

and mom is helping so she's explaining Rett syndrome and why

Unknown:

she has to help her daughter. But in the book, she's she's Got

Unknown:

classmates and she goes to school and she wants to make

Unknown:

something really beautiful for her friends. And so she's just

Unknown:

the top living her life. So it helps everyone understand that.

Unknown:

Again, they're just children.

Nellie Harden:

That is amazing. A friend of mines daughter

Nellie Harden:

actually has read and so, and I just so rare. Yes. And I didn't

Nellie Harden:

know anything about it. She's McKinsey is the same age as my

Nellie Harden:

oldest daughter, I think she's a little bit older. And she's just

Nellie Harden:

one of the most fascinating, fascinating, almost had a little

Nellie Harden:

accent there. For some reason, fascinating. Young women

Nellie Harden:

Mackenzie is and I have just seen her mom and their whole

Nellie Harden:

family be so strong and grow so much through the last, you know,

Nellie Harden:

1516 years. And I don't know I just just watching their family

Nellie Harden:

and they have a son too, who is, quote unquote, neurotypical I

Nellie Harden:

guess, is, but anyway, but how he embraces life with Mackenzie

Nellie Harden:

and takes care of her and what they've been able to do for her.

Nellie Harden:

And she was in the hospital a lot last year with different

Nellie Harden:

things. And man, I was just praying for her and everything,

Nellie Harden:

and she was able to get out and she's enjoying life again. And

Nellie Harden:

it's, it really is fascinating. And I would love to I can't wait

Nellie Harden:

to tell their family about the about the book too. But seeing

Nellie Harden:

something that is familiar in a book that you're like, oh, okay,

Nellie Harden:

you know, especially if you have a classmate that comes in, I

Nellie Harden:

know, when my mom was working in special education, like, she

Nellie Harden:

would take her students into class for maybe 20 minutes, 30

Nellie Harden:

minutes a day, you know, a typical classroom and then come

Nellie Harden:

back. And a lot of those students didn't know what to

Nellie Harden:

expect, or they were like, oh, goodness, here comes, you know,

Nellie Harden:

the special education and who knows what's going to happen

Nellie Harden:

because it can be very unpredictable, right? Sometimes.

Nellie Harden:

And so if even you know, whether you have, you know, a special,

Nellie Harden:

special needs child or you don't, I think books like that

Nellie Harden:

are so important. So we can be able to understand a little bit

Nellie Harden:

more when things come into our, into our lives, into our

Nellie Harden:

classrooms, into our, you know, churches or where wherever, that

Nellie Harden:

we can be more cognizant and understanding of them as a

Nellie Harden:

person, not just this special needs, right there a person

Nellie Harden:

before their special needs.

Unknown:

Yes. Yes. And, you know, we forget that. Yeah, we

Unknown:

focus on the needs that rather than others as a child, right,

Unknown:

so that's what I was explaining to my parent, though, she says,

Unknown:

I don't know how to raise, you know, a special needs child,

Unknown:

he's, he's a child. He's doing what children do at 12. He's

Unknown:

just looking things up on YouTube, you know? And so once

Unknown:

we kind of got over that little hurdle, then she was perfectly

Unknown:

fine. You know, she's like, okay, you know, but it can be

Unknown:

overwhelming, you know? And it's like, no, yes, their children,

Unknown:

they want to go skiing, they want to go swimming, you know,

Unknown:

they want to go to the movies, they want to do all of that. You

Unknown:

know, a lot of times we take them to the movies, and

Unknown:

sometimes they've never been to the movies, their families don't

Unknown:

don't take them. They don't know that they can, they can go and

Unknown:

it's like yeah. And so it's it's interesting, but this one I

Unknown:

wrote, this is probably my third one. And I wrote it with my

Unknown:

little brother. He's an astronomer at JPL. And he wanted

Unknown:

to be the professor with the hair and the as the bunny

Unknown:

slippers. And it's teaching all about astronomy. But on this

Unknown:

page is Jeremy and Jeremy was one of my students. And his mom

Unknown:

was actually one of our teachers, and has Down syndrome.

Unknown:

So Jeremy's learning about astronomy, and you're learning a

Unknown:

little bit about Down syndrome. So it's just just I try not to,

Unknown:

like somebody asked me once. I've actually been asked that

Unknown:

quite a bit. If I'm going to write a book on special needs.

Unknown:

And I'm like, no, because then it's about the special needs

Unknown:

rather than a child who's living their life and learning about

Unknown:

something. And it changes the focus of what it is that we're

Unknown:

doing this one. This one is Jake, and has cerebral palsy.

Unknown:

And he's actually the son of a friend of mine. And so he's

Unknown:

learning all about astronomy, and we're learning a little bit

Unknown:

about a cerebral palsy. And this is my brother with his hair. So

Unknown:

that's what he wanted to be. But one time, we were doing a book

Unknown:

event, then elementary school, and I read my Queenborough netus

Unknown:

to probably 40 or 50, kindergarteners. And he was

Unknown:

doing the third graders. So his took a little longer. So I was

Unknown:

standing in the back of his performance, and he introduced

Unknown:

me and who I was and this little boy spoke up and his sister had

Unknown:

just passed away. And she was in one of our classes. She wasn't

Unknown:

in my class, but she was in a special needs class. And so he

Unknown:

started talking about it in front of everyone and We let him

Unknown:

talk. And then afterwards, we gave him a set of books, and the

Unknown:

teachers that that he hadn't talked for weeks, because of

Unknown:

this had happened. And just because I was there, and I'm

Unknown:

doing what I do in my life, he felt the connection to me. And

Unknown:

he got to open up a little bit more about what had happened to

Unknown:

him and his family. And that's what I tell people, if they're

Unknown:

out and they're, you know, just like you, you're, you're talking

Unknown:

to the public, you go with a certain thought in your head,

Unknown:

this is what we're going to talk about, you know, I was going to

Unknown:

read my book. So we're going to learn about calendar, well, we

Unknown:

learned a whole bunch of other stuff we didn't know we were

Unknown:

going to learn. And so you have to be open to that. You have to

Unknown:

know what your audience is doing and what it is that they need

Unknown:

from you. Sometimes it's not what you think.

Nellie Harden:

I know, most say many times, it's not what you

Nellie Harden:

think I have definitely learned that as a homeschooling parent.

Nellie Harden:

Okay, well, before we wrap up, I definitely want to get from you

Nellie Harden:

if there is any. I don't know if there's anything quick that you

Nellie Harden:

can do. But any tips for either parents of special needs or just

Nellie Harden:

any parent out there regarding, you know, special needs, is

Nellie Harden:

there something that you can just leave our listeners with so

Nellie Harden:

that they can make a small pivot this week in a direction of more

Nellie Harden:

resilience or disciplines, vulnerability and understanding

Nellie Harden:

anything that you want to say,

Unknown:

for on the from the parents perspective, remember

Unknown:

that your teacher is your support system. And if you're in

Unknown:

a meeting, and it can be overwhelming, there's there

Unknown:

could be 15 people there. If you don't understand what's going

Unknown:

on, or you don't agree with it, you can stop that meeting and

Unknown:

say, You know what, I don't want to do this right now. I want to

Unknown:

think about it. It's your meeting. And if you don't

Unknown:

understand what someone is saying, or you don't agree with

Unknown:

them, then you tell them. If a child is acting differently at

Unknown:

home than they are at school, you need to tell the teacher

Unknown:

they know sometimes things are happening in the classroom, and

Unknown:

we just we can't figure out what it is. And then we'll have a

Unknown:

meeting. And after a while the parents say, Well, you know,

Unknown:

they do this, and we're like, Okay, now we understand what

Unknown:

they're doing in the classroom, you need to be more open about

Unknown:

what's happening. We're not there to judge you, we're there

Unknown:

to help you. So um, but

Nellie Harden:

it's so important. I know, I've heard

Nellie Harden:

those meetings can be, you know, very challenging, anxious,

Nellie Harden:

right? I see friends of mine that post or or talk to me, and

Nellie Harden:

they're like, Oh, we got the meeting next Tuesday. We'll see

Nellie Harden:

how it goes. Last time, yeah,

Unknown:

they shouldn't feel that way, they should have a

Unknown:

good communication line with the teacher. And I do a lot of

Unknown:

discussions with them usually before the meeting so that by

Unknown:

the time we have the meeting, we all know what we're talking

Unknown:

about, we're all on the same page. And unless something just

Unknown:

comes up out of the blue or something, it's usually pretty

Unknown:

open, and the parent needs to make sure that they're talking

Unknown:

to the teacher, you shouldn't go into the meeting, feeling

Unknown:

anxious, it is overwhelming. You've got all these

Unknown:

professionals in there saying all this stuff about your child.

Unknown:

And it's like, but it's your child. Exactly. expert on your

Unknown:

child. So,

Nellie Harden:

right. And it's easy to feel like oh, you know,

Nellie Harden:

they must know more about this than I do. Especially if you're

Nellie Harden:

going in going I don't know what to do. But you are so right, you

Nellie Harden:

are the expert on your child. And that is your role as parent.

Nellie Harden:

So thank you so much for being here and bringing awareness to

Nellie Harden:

this. Thank you so much for the books. I think those are

Nellie Harden:

priceless. And I can't wait to have all of our listeners go out

Nellie Harden:

and take a look at them and share them and share them with

Nellie Harden:

the world around them. Because I love your approach to them. And

Nellie Harden:

I totally agree you don't want to do a book on special needs.

Nellie Harden:

But it's about people living with special needs in the world

Nellie Harden:

and experiencing the world. So thank you so much for the work

Nellie Harden:

that you do for the love that you have. And for the pivots

Nellie Harden:

that you are making and all of these families lives and all of

Nellie Harden:

our listeners today. Oh, thank

Unknown:

you for letting me talk. Absolutely.

Nellie Harden:

Well, thank you so much, and for all of our

Nellie Harden:

listeners. Thank you again for listening to another episode of

Nellie Harden:

the 6570 family project podcast where we are building the

Nellie Harden:

foundations for ourselves, our kids futures and our family as a

Nellie Harden:

whole. Have a great day and I will see you next week. Thank

Nellie Harden:

you so much for listening today and I hope you were able to take

Nellie Harden:

something from our discussion that you can use to build the

Nellie Harden:

foundation of selfless leadership in your own family.

Nellie Harden:

If you are a parent with children 17 or younger, and

Nellie Harden:

especially those around nine and up, I would love to extend an

Nellie Harden:

invitation to you to the best club in town. The family

Nellie Harden:

architects Club is a private club where intentional parents

Nellie Harden:

go that want to love support, connect or reconnect and really

Nellie Harden:

truly help guide their kids and teach them how to self leave in

Nellie Harden:

discipline and leadership. This is an online community and the

Nellie Harden:

you are welcome to it. Parenting is a project and you are the

Nellie Harden:

architect of this one. You plan you design and oversee the

Nellie Harden:

construction of the beginning of someone else's life. And that's

Nellie Harden:

what goes into these first 6570 days, and it will be the

Nellie Harden:

foundation for the rest of their lives. So come join the club,

Nellie Harden:

you can find your invitation on the front page of my website

Nellie Harden:

Nelly hardin.com. That is N E ll ie H AR d e n.com. Thank you

Nellie Harden:

again for being a part of this conversation today. And if

Nellie Harden:

something really resonated with you, or if you have a question,

Nellie Harden:

please don't hesitate to connect with me. You can find me on

Nellie Harden:

Instagram at Nelly Hardin. And lastly, if you love the

Nellie Harden:

information, please please leave a five star review and a comment

Nellie Harden:

so more and more families can be impacted by harnessing the

Nellie Harden:

strength of these ideas and tools in their own families. So

Nellie Harden:

thank you so much. Happy building you guys and I'll see

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