Presentations and Training on Disability, Writing, and Children’s Lit

shalexan@verizon.net

I teach four courses in Chatham University’s M.F.A. program, writing autobiography and biography for children and teens (Transcribing Lives), writing fantasy and science fiction (Inventing Wonder), and young adult literature (Blue Jeans Lit). In summer, 2009, I taught a class on disability literature, (The ability within disability,) which was experiential as well as academic. I also lead two critique groups out of my home. In addition, I give talks to students K-12 and to parents, teachers, librarians, and professionals concerned with

This is a picture of me with students from a West Virginia school.

  • Disability
  • Perseverance
  • Starting Over
  • Writing
  • Children’s literature

I also deliver inspirational keynote speeches (“If I can do it, you can, too”), give staff training, family, and parent seminars, and participate in panel discussions at literature and disability conferences.

This is a picture of me speaking.

My presentations include:

  • Perseverance
  • Starting Over
  • “What to Do With a Blank Page”: an interactive talk about the elements of writing, such as plot, using student participation, visual aids, and a writing exercise
  • “PQS: Praise, Questions, and Suggestions “The Writer as Rewriter”: a workshop devoted to hands-on techniques that help the writer become her own editor
  • “Children’s Literature: Antidote to the World’s Ills”: interactive discussion of the ways children’s books shore up kids’ heroes, values, and abilities to resolve conflict
  • “Do You Remember the Color Blue?”: an interactive talk on blindness and deafness, using audience participation to understand coping strategies and the culture of the disabled
  • “Breaking Down the Barriers”: an interactive workshop that helps improve social interaction between the disabled and able-bodied

My motto, like that of Laura Bridgman’s teacher, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, is “obstacles are things to be overcome.”