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Literally Awesome

In 2009, Ben participated in a pilot literacy program developed at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The program went so well, that Attainment Company is now marketing it as a teaching tool for schools. Last week, Ben's teacher sent a link of Ben in the training video for this product. It is a commitment to watch the longer video, so I asked the Attainment Company to edit it to a shorter version for this posting.

You will not regret the time you use to view either of the videos.

The Big Commitment:
18 minute version - Ben is in the Level 4 Video

From Nydia Hoard, Ben's special education teacher, and the facilitator in the video:
In this video clip Ben is featured in a training video for a literacy program called Pathways to Literacy, published by Attainment Company.  This literacy program is designed for students with more moderate to severe cognitive disabilities.  Its goal is to have students increase their literacy skills by interacting with a story through objects, answering comprehension questions with objects and pictures, and become actively involved in the story by joining in on a repeated story line.  My students and myself have been fortunate to participate in this literacy program, through collaboration with many professionals at UNCC who wrote the program that was published by Attainment Co. 

Barbara Agnello, Ph.D., BCBA-D, is a behavior therapist who has worked extensively with Ben and was involved with the grant process for this literacy program. She got to see first hand the amazing results:
Approximately 17 years ago, Anne Donnellan wrote a book, Movement Differences and Diversity in Autism-Mental Retardation: Appreciations and Accommodations People with Communications and Behavior Challenges. In this book, Anne Donnellan identified a beautiful and inspiring concept that individuals with disabilities are capable of learning. The concept is known as the “Least Dangerous Assumption.” The “least dangerous assumption” explains that it is least dangerous to an individual to make the assumption of capability rather than incapability. Beyond the least dangerous to an individual, this assumption encourages dignity and respect for individuals with disabilities.

Individuals with disabilities are very capable of communicating and learning. When an individual has a disability that challenges the ability to communicate and learn, it is both an honor and a responsibility to think outside the box to identify ways that an individual can successfully communicate and learn. Very often, I observe individuals with disabilities communicating in nontraditional ways that are often ignored. Can you even begin to imagine how frustrating that would be? Honestly, I cannot.

This video is a beautiful example of the “least dangerous assumption” and thinking outside the box! In my opinion, both the communication and learning taking place speaks for itself.

And finally, this is an email my mom sent to the Attainment Company, after seeing the video:
My grandson is in one of your videos. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to see him respond to questions about a book the teacher was reading. My daughter told me about this program and I was skeptical. I am amazed by the power of your program. I wish everyone could use it. Thank you, thank you for giving my sweet grandchild this power.

* This is an unpaid and unsolicited post for this literacy program, Pathways to Literacy.


  1. that is amazing! Thanks for posting it...when my boys go to bed tonight, I plan on watching the longer video. Thanks for chatting with me yesterday!


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