5th Grade Understanding Our Differences

Event Date: 

Thu 11/15/12 1:00pm




Ward Gym

Contact Info: 

Beth Newman at 617-331-7108 or at bethportnow@aol.com

Understanding Our Differences

Intellectual Disabilities Unit


Dear Parents,


Understanding Our Differences is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with the Newton Public Schools to teach elementary school children an understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities in our schools and in our community. The Understanding Our Differences Intellectual Disabilities unit will take place in your child's classroom on Thursday, November 15 from 1-3pm and we invite you to join us in the classroom.


There are four themes central to this unit:


  • All people develop and learn in an orderly way. People with intellectual disabilities learn and develop in the same orderly way but they develop more slowly. They may not be able to perform tasks as easily as others their age, but they are capable of learning and continuing to improve their skills.


  • People with intellectual disabilities confront challenges in multiple areas including: large and small motor skills, language skills, academic skills, and activities of daily living.


  • Name-calling is hurtful and cannot be confronted passively. Students are encouraged to be a friend and an ally. An ally is someone who stands up for another person in order to make our schools and communities safer.


  • The experiences in this unit can help increase sensitivity to and respect for the many children and adults with intellectual disabilities who live, attend school, and work in our community.


For many students, the high point of each unit is the speakers who share their personal experiences and answer the students' thoughtful questions about living with a disability.


The Understanding Our Differences program is presented by parent volunteers. Many parents find the experience of helping to implement the program to be very rewarding. Please contact Beth Newman at 617-331-7108 or at bethportnow@aol.com if you would like to join the volunteer team or if you have any questions or concerns.


                                        Sincerely, Beth


Maura McLaughlin Tynes, M.Ed, C.A.G.S             Maren Oslund, LICSW

Director of Elementary Special Education             Program Director of

                                                                                    Understanding Our Differences