I originally wrote “This is Ella” for my Ella’s kindergarten class in Vancouver, British Columbia. The start of school can be scary for any parent but it was especially nerve-wracking for us because we had made the decision to enroll Ella into a very large French Immersion school which, subsequently had very few children with special needs (and even fewer with a cognitive delay - if any). While not wanting to single her out too much, we were also very aware of the fact that children are quick to notice some things about Ella that are a little bit different and that for some, those differences might be a little bit scary. That being said, we believe that Ella is more the same than different. She is a child first and foremost. She wants to be accepted and included just like any other child and just because she may have trouble saying some words it doesn’t mean that she can’t be a good friend.
Over the years, many parents of children with Down syndrome who were approaching the school years asked our Down syndrome community about how to educate teachers, parents and classmates about their child’s diagnosis. Our book was often referred to and I have had the privilege of sharing it many times over. For this reason, I decided that it was time to make it an open resource available to anyone who needed it. I approached my friend Celia about bringing Ella to life in illustrated form and here we are!
The purpose of the book is to promote inclusion and the foundational premise is that children with Down Syndrome are more the same than different. Not only that, but also that children with any exceptional need or diagnosis have something to contribute.
This book is a grassroots project and I am simply crowd-funding for the funds to make it happen. The funds will be used for the cost of illustrations (approx. $3500), publishing and first run (approx. $2000) and promotion and shipping (approx. $2500). It is my hope that this book will be a part of every classroom as well as every home.
Risks and challenges
The idea of raising so much money is incredibly daunting. I have a very talented illustrator and have chosen a high-quality self-publishing company however, I understand that not everyone will see my vision. They may not see inclusion as important. The reality is, is that in a perfect world, such a book would not be necessary but instead we live in a broken society where individuals with disabilities are viewed as unworthy, less, and to be avoided as opposed how ought to see them: as equal members of society who each have their unique gifts and talents to contribute to our communities.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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