I have the distinct pleasure of reviewing and sharing my thoughts about my esteemed colleague and friend Dr. Paula Kluth’s latest work with Landlocked Films and Brookes Publishing. Paula has just released a DVD and Professional Development Package, based on her best-selling book, You’re Going to Love This Kid! .
For years, I have been giving this book to parents and school professionals as the go-to book for understanding how to create inclusive classrooms, especially for students that are on the autism spectrum. I have given it as teacher gifts, as food for thought, and as a reference that is like no other in book form….it has been the closest thing to being with Paula in a personal conversation about how it can look for kids….until now.
Please take a look at the introductory trailer.
The DVD package itself is differentiated, as it contains a detailed facilitator manual that describes how to use the video; inclusive of 3 hour, 6 hour, one and two day workshop lesson plans; as well as numerous references and other ways to use the materials dependent on your school setting and time frames. Although that aspect of the professional development package is extremely useful, rich with information and background that brings the book to yet another level of understanding and application, that is not my favorite part of this package.
The DVD vignettes allow for Paula’s immense understanding and experience with people that have various learning needs to be seen in real life, in real classrooms; with her as the tour guide highlighting the most important aspects as she sees them. The topics covered include a discussion about inclusion generally, autism specifically, specific teaching strategies, and lessons for all. Each are supported in the video with teachers, administrators, parents, paraprofessionals and students speaking about and showing what they know and do every day in their schools to create inclusive classrooms for all learners.
All too often, when I am working in a school doing professional development or having conversations about what inclusion can and should look like for kids with disabilities, the question is asked of where someone can see it being done well. It has been my experience that teachers and parents alike are very visual learners in this sense…need to see something before they can believe it, dream it, or make it happen for all kids they serve.
Although there are places that inclusion exists in these ways, they are not always close enough for the people in schools I am working with to access them. Additionally, small teams of people typically go on site visits, so sharing back the insights they glean from going to a school and the learning from it is difficult at best.
This DVD package is an amazing portrayal of life in schools that meet the needs of learners, despite their age, their challenges, the school contexts, or the classroom content. It is a gift of being able to be a fly on a wall in classrooms across the nation that have worked hard to create successful situations for a vast array of individuals, showing how the adults have learned together so the kids can learn together.
Additionally, it is a rare opportunity to be almost in a casual conversation with Paula about her beliefs, her experiences and sharing of her understanding. Knowing her as a person, I can assure you that when she smiles as she describes what she is talking about in the film, it is because she personally feels this is important and finds pure joy in her work with individuals with and without disabilities. It is infectious.
I cannot wait to use this package in the schools that I work with. The conversations that will come from this, the understanding of next steps, the prioritization of what matters for kids in schools is in alignment and supportive of the work that I attempt to do every day. This DVD professional development package will allow me to take what is written in her book and help schools apply it in ways that matter for kids. I strongly recommend that you do the same. Before long, after using this package, you too will be exclaiming, You’re Going to Love This Kid!