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Arts & Life

How labels didn’t stop a family from achieving full inclusion for son with developmental disability

Janice Fialka, left, with her husband Rich, son Micah and daughter Emma in Syracuse.
Courtesy of Janice Fialka
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Janice Fialka, left, with her husband Rich, son Micah and daughter Emma in Syracuse.

How do you express your feelings when a team of experts sits you down to tell you your child is developmentally disabled?

When Janice Fialka? of Huntington Woods came home reeling from such a case conference about her five-year-old son Micah, she sat down and tried to put her feelings into words.

The result was a poem she calls Advice to Professionals who must "conference cases."

"I want my son back," she writes. "I want him back now. Then I'll get on with my life."

And that she did. Fialka and her family - husband Rich, daughter Emma and son Micah - launched themselves on a mission to prove that labels and IQ tests are not true measures of someone's ability to be valuable to the world, to contribute, to learn. 

Her book is titled What Matters: Reflections on Disability, Community and Love

Fialka joined us today to share Micah's story and what she's learned through raising and supporting her son. 

Fialka will be on campus at the University of Michigan this coming Friday for a Q&A and book signing as part of an event called Disability Inclusion

GUEST Janice Fialka is a lecturer, author and advocate on issues related to disability, inclusion, raising a child with disabilities and more.

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