Saturday, March 10, 2018

"It's not our disabilities, it's our abilities that count." Chris Burke

The Paralympics have commenced in Pyeongchang, but not to the fame and acclaim of the Winter Olympics.  No matter - watch just a few moments of the coverage, and you will be immersed in pure inspiration.

During my 37 year career in the classroom, coaching, and directing, I was fortunate to be assigned many students with physical, mental, and emotional challenges.  Students with special needs require lots of work on the teacher's side, but the work pales in comparison to the rewards gained by the student. I was thinking about my past life in the classroom as I viewed some uplifting videos about the remarkable participants in the Paralympics. They have, in some cases, redefined themselves, as they reach for their personal goals. As a teacher, I always looked for a student's ABILITIES, rather than his disabilities, which led to success for the student.  Many of the athletes in the Paralympics have been surrounded with love and encouragement from caring adults, helping them to do their best, making each one a winner.

The most important gift of all, in my opinion, is the self-confidence that comes with hard work and trying one's best, making the disability an integral part of the person and dealing with it, rather than simply overcoming it.  The disability is acknowledged and embraced; it is the athlete's "normal", and he performs with the disability, rather than despite the disability. #inspiration 

Take a look at this clip of a young skiing star whose life changed after a bout with cancer.  

I am inspired by these athletes who have worked so hard. Kudos to the Paralympics! 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. 

Rittman Publishing, LLC ®

Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school.  if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom.  GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 from The Authors' Zone. For more information about The Authors' Zone, please visit  

Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required readingSigned copies are available Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics. 

I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books.  Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self.  However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired! 

Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom.  Check them out! 

Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book.  I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading.  Please email me at  The website now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!

Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. 

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