Shelly Barth is a veteran teachers who has been teaching our severe population of students, who have cognitive and physical disabilities. If I can borrow a phrase from Cindi Madanski, Shelly sees the trees even while she is looking at the whole forest. She treats her students with love and respect despite what disability a student may have. She is always trying to teach them to be self-advocates for themselves, and she is passionate about that subject. Shellie challenges herself to always think of her students as a complete tree not a partial one. A limb may have lots of knots it but it still deserves a persons full attention. If a student is non-verbal and has a very low level of IQ she still will find ways for that student to ask for what he or she needs or wants. Shelly partners with her parents, and guides them through a life in high school as a parent of a child with a severe disability.
Looking for the best in a student is a great model to follow, and I try to do that everyday. The EMDT program has given me ways to bring out those "best" qualities in different ways. Keeping them engaged and learning those functional life skills will only be a "win" for my students.