That's My Friend: Educating Youth on Empathy and Disability in Classrooms
We provide inclusive common indoor classrooms and active outdoor environments for children and youth with and without special needs.
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Sobre tu organización
Nombre de la organización
The Arc Montgomery County
Sitio web de la organización
País de la organización
Estados Unidos, MD, Rockville, Montgomery County
Países en donde este proyecto está creando impacto social
Estados Unidos, MD
Tu organización es
Tu rol en la Educación
Programa después de la escuela, Otro.
Tipo de escuela(s) afiliada(s) con tu solución:
¿Cuánto tiempo ha estado operando la organización?
Más de 5 años
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Selecciona la fase que describa mejor el momento en el que se encuentra tu emprendimiento
Crecimiento (tu iniciativa piloto ya se está aplicando y se empieza a expandir)
¿Hace cuánto que viene operando tu organización?
Operando más de 5 años
La necesidad: ¿Cuál es el problema que tratas de solucionar?
We are trying to raise awareness that all individuals –regardless of their abilities - are an important part of our society. Young children don’t see differences but they learn differences. There’s a need to teach young children that differences should be embraced so they become empathetic adults and leaders. We see a lack of early grade empathy training between youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their typical peers. Young children are not adequately prepared to be in inclusive classrooms with peers that have disabilities. Empathy training is as much for the adults in the children’s lives. Most times children are reacting to the adults in their lives and learning adverse behavior. Parents also don’t understand and lack the tools to talk to their kids about empathy.
La solución: ¿Cuál es tu solución? Sé específico.
Our solution is creating a portable curriculum that can be used in classrooms and within youth groups to teach kids how to be accepting and empathetic toward their peers. We want to clearly differentiate feeling sorry for someone and having empathy. The specific focus will be to teach children about empathy when it comes to their peers with disabilities. We want to have activities for teachers to use in classrooms for those teachable moments with their students. Our solution is creating modules that can teach young children what it is empathy, why it’s important, and the effect it has (or will have) on society as a whole. The portability will allow us to share what we’re learning in our classrooms with other community organizations and schools. We also want to create a toolbox so that youth organizations can activate empathy in their communities. We want to give adults activities and tools to talk to their kids about empathy at home and to get the whole family involved.
El Modelo: Muéstranos a través de un ejemplo específico cómo tu solución hace una diferencia, incluye tus actividades primarias
We want children to think, solve problems, and work as a team in classrooms. We don’t want to shy away from using words such as autism or using a wheelchair. We want kids to see that a certain disability is part of who their peers are and not what they are. For example we say to kids in our classrooms that their peer needs the wheelchair to get around like you need your legs.
Specific activities would include kids doing a self-portrait and putting up pictures of all the kids and their self-portraits and asking the questions: Do we look the same? What’s different? What are the similarities? We want to show we all have similarities and things we can offer. We’ll also teach kids about authentic friendships. Authentic friendships bring joy and positivity in your life.
We also want to talk about the concept of not being afraid. Differences are not scary. Peers with disabilities are not strangers; they are our friends and part of our school. We’ll also do workshops for parents and give scenarios to see how they would handle a certain situation before training and after training: What would you do if your child points to a disabled person in a store? What would you say and how would you teach empathy? The before and after scenarios would be used to see if the training made them change how they would respond. Kids are brutally honest and we want parents to use those moments as teachable moments. We would need to do this with our staff and teachers so they can model it within their own classrooms.
El mercado: ¿Quiénes son tus pares y competidores? Identifica a otros que también estén trabajando para dar respuesta a las necesidades que tú abordas y en qué te diferencias de ellos. ¿Cuáles son los desafíos que estos jugadores podrían representar para tu éxito o crecimiento?
Our main competitor is the school system. They have already have activities around character and tolerance. The problem with those programs is that they’re taught to the masses and they don’t get down to the specifics. It’s very assembly style. There’s not that follow up to talk about what was learned and if it sunk in and is being implemented. Empathy is not one stop shopping training. Challenges include having parents that don’t want empathy taught to their kids; they want to do the teaching. There’s a trust issues with parents so we need to say that this is about understanding the world as whole and not changing your child.
Ahora que has pensado en tu innovación, ayúdanos a presentarla.
Define tu empresa, programa, servicio o producto en 1-2 frases cortas. [136 caracteres/25 palabras]
We provide inclusive, common indoor classrooms and active outdoor environments for children and youth with and without special needs.
Identifica lo que es innovador en tu solución en 1-2 frases cortas. [136 caracteres/25 palabras]
We are activating empathy through enriching, inclusive learning environments for children at an early age.
Esta presentación se trata de
¿Cuál ha sido el impacto de la solución hasta la fecha?
Our model of inclusion has sustained itself for over 20 years. Our program has seen greater expansion over the years. Parents seek out this program because they want their child without a disability to be in this model to learn about differences and become accepting of others and learn empathy. We have made ourselves available to teach others across the state on inclusive education. We’re thought of as exemplars in the area of inclusive education of young people and youth. Our work around inclusion and empathy with young people has been woven into the greater strategic plan of the entire organization. Our organization is embedding the inclusion work in the children’s program into the teen, adult, and senior programs run it runs. The inclusion and empathy work started in the children’s program has become a catalyst for the whole organization’s community builder work throughout Montgomery County.
¿Cuál es tu impacto proyectado para los próximos 1-3 años?
We hope to have a greater impact in the community so that this curriculum is taught in schools, churches, and civic organizations. We would like this training to be part of the community service hours high school students need to graduate in the state of Maryland. We also want parents to become advocates for empathy training in schools as a result of the marketing of this curriculum. We hope this training will lead to more youth with disabilities being greater self-advocates and educating their typical peers both within and outside the classroom.
¿Qué barreras pueden dificultar el éxito de tu proyecto? ¿Cómo planean superarlas?
Adults not seeing the significance and not supporting our efforts will be a big barrier. We’ll need to show parents the value of early empathy training but also ongoing empathy training. Parents not taking what is learned in the classroom and applying it at home will be another barrier. We'll need to give parents multiple tools to apply at home so they can sustain what is taught in classrooms. Outcome tracking is also another barrier. We will need to make a commitment to follow through as children get older to make sure we see long term outcomes
Las iniciativas ganadoras presentan un plan fuerte de cómo van a alcanzar y realizar un seguimiento del crecimiento. Identifica tus metas a seis meses para el crecimiento de tu impacto
We will reach all of our current kids and parents
Identifica tres grandes tareas que tendrás que completar para llegar a las metas de seis meses.
Create a toolbox
Create an evaluation tool
¡Ahora piensa en grande! Identifica tu meta de impacto a 12 meses.
Approved by Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) as a training that can be taught throughout the state
Identifica tres grandes tareas que tendrás que completar para llegar a tu meta de impacto a 12 meses
Refine curriculum and evaluation tool
Submit a proposal to MSDE
List trainings available and advertise to audiences throughout the state
Historia de la fundación: Queremos saber acerca del momento en el que hiciste "¡Ajá!". Comparte la historia de dónde y cuándo el/los fundador(es) vio (vieron) el potencial de esta solución para cambiar el mundo.
The Arc has a rich history spanning over 60 years. In 1950, a small group of parents and other concerned individuals came together to act as voices for change. At the time, little was known about the condition of intellectual disabilities. There were virtually no programs and activities in communities to assist in the development and care of children and adults with intellectual disabilities or to support families.
It was common at that time for doctors to tell parents that the best place for their child was in an institution. Emboldened by their collective desire to raise their children in the home and their stubborn refusal to accept that institutionalization was the only option, The Arc’s founders fought even harder. They wanted their children to lead fulfilling lives out in the community and not shuttered away in dark institutions. It was in that spirit that The Arc was born.
Cuéntanos sobre tus alianzas.
Montgomery County Infant and Toddler – They use our program to give therapeutic care and give us free trainings
Holy Cross Hospital – they refer people to us from NICU
Montgomery County Public Schools – special education building bridges. 3-5yr get special education services at one stop shop
¿Qué tipo de equipo (personal, voluntarios, etc.) te asegurará que logres las metas de crecimiento identificadas en la sección de Impacto social/i>?
We’ll rely on our existing staff, teachers, and nurses at our children’s center. We’ll also utilize the parents of the children who use our children services to become better parent advocates while their child is in school and in community activities. Our executive management and management team also have a commitment to inclusion throughout the entire agency. We’ll also utilize our network of volunteers to help us sustain our efforts in the greater community.
Por favor, pon en claro las necesidades u ofertas que hayas mencionado anteriormente y/o sugiere categorías de apoyo que no están especificadas en la lista
There’s definitely a need to have a place where groups such as ours can connect across the country. There are a lot of great models nationwide but it’s hard to know who is doing what and what their results are to date. We would like a more efficient way to connect with these groups and share information on each other’s exemplar models.