Skip to main content

Welcome to WWVDN's new look! Now website users on mobile devices have an easier time accessing information & resources at their fingertips. If you ever get lost, just click the 3 horizontal lines in the upper right to see the navigation menu.

Parent to Parent Stories

Whitney Lux, Teacher

Picture of girl with her father

Hello Friends!

I’m Whitney Lux, a third-grade teacher at Gib Olinger Elementary in Milton-Freewater. As a first-year teacher one of my big goals this year was to bring awareness about inclusion and acceptance of others. To achieve this, I have read multiple books to my class that cover a variety of special needs. I want to share some of the books that I read with my class, what the premise of each book was about, and the impact that it had on my students.

The first book that I chose to read with my class was When Charley Met Emma by Amy Webb. This book is about Emma, a young girl, who has a limb difference and uses a wheelchair. Emma is at the park with her sister, when a young boy named Charley sees her and isn’t sure how to behave when he meets someone who looks different than he is. This story taught my students that it is ok to look different and that being uniquely yourself is honestly a great thing.

The second book I chose to read in this series was titled Awesomely Emma. In this story, Emma goes on a field trip with her class. However, there is no ramp, so she must enter through the back door. I asked my students how this made them feel and they were honestly really upset. One simple question sparked a very productive class discussion on how not all places are wheelchair accessible. One of my students said that she is thankful that our school has an elevator, because our classroom is on the second floor and if we didn’t have one our friends like Emma wouldn’t be able to come to school here. My students then wrote letters to our principal expressing how glad they were that our school has an elevator and is accessible to all students.

We also have read Different, a Great Thing to Be by Heather Avis. What I loved about this book was that it talked about how we are all different but at the same time have so much in common with each other. Another book they loved is Temple Grandin: The Girl Who Thought in Pictures by Julia Finley Mosca. This is the true story that shares the life of Dr. Temple Grandin. She’s an animal science professor at Colorado State University who has made some remarkable changes in the livestock industry. She also has Autism. In this story we learned that everybody’s brains work a little differently. Temple thinks in pictures and can see the world around her in a different lens than most. We did a flip book activity with this story and one of the pages asked what makes Temple different? I figured this would be the real test to see if the students were understanding that Autism is a piece of who she is, but it isn’t what defines her. I then asked my students to share what they wrote, most of them had responses such as, "What makes her different is that she thinks in pictures”, or, “that she sees the world differently than I do”, rather than, “She has Autism”.

Through reading all of the stories we’ve read this year, my students have learned that it is important to recognize our differences, be aware of our similarities, and be accepting of all but, most importantly, spread kindness wherever they go. These are the stories we’ve read multiple times and have talked about often in order to help me reach my goal to bring awareness of inclusion and acceptance of others to my students. I would highly encourage everyone to read these books as they offer the opportunity to share stories of inclusion and acceptance into your classroom setting and potentially your own life. Awareness is such an important piece that, I believe, is missing sometimes and my instilling the importance of acceptance and inclusion in my students, I hope that makes them ready to make a change!

Thank You to our Sponsors