Special Education Students Make Big Impact

“Some wonderful things have occurred,” said Pete Post ‘74, assistant professor of special education, of his Introduction to Exceptional Children course.

Trinity students in the class are being challenged in new and exciting ways, according to Post. To prepare for future interaction with students with disabilities and the parents, students in the course each choose a specific disability to study and present to the class.

Post encourages his students to “make that human connection” by bringing in people with these disabilities and/or parents of the children to talk with the class.

Senior Dan Ludwig of Crestwood, Illinois, chose to present on Tourette syndrome, and chose to read Brad Cohen’s book, Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had. Encouraged by Post to contact the author, Ludwig e-mailed Cohen and received a rapid reply.

Ludwig was able to communicate with Cohen about his project and send him a copy of his paper. Ludwig said it was exciting to hear from the author and to be able to include direct quotes in his presentation.

“I certainly walked away with a good understanding of what Tourette syndrome is,” Ludwig said.

Inspired by Ludwig’s initiative, Post contacted Cohen about speaking at Trinity for the annual Disability Awareness Week. Cohen presented on March 2 in the Ozinga Chapel.

The presentations given by the students give true-to-life descriptions and establish an understanding and empathy for people with disabilities. With the help of Trinity alumnus Jordan Huenink ’07, Post has been able to share the incredible stories and presentations with local station Channel  4.

“It’s exciting that Jordan is doing this,” Post said, as the stories have the chance to make a large impact and reach a broader audience.