Special education teacher Chris Ulmer starts off each school day by giving his students a confidence boost. For 10 minutes, the educator individually compliments each of his pupils and then gives them an enthusiastic high five. “Simple reminders of their positive attributes shifts [the students’] focus from what they can’t do to what they can do,” explains Ulmer. “The children have become much more social and their communication skills have grown incredibly, both verbal and nonverbal.” The teacher also set up a Facebook page called Special Books by Special Kids. Here, he posts stories, illustrations, cartoons, and videos that the students have produced in school and at home. With their parents’ permission, Ulmer shared a video of his compliment-based sessions.
“I believe if enough people follow our journey it will erase stigmas and show the beautiful nature of children with special needs,” writes the instructor. To spread this positivite message, Ulmer wants to publish a book of his students’ stories. Though the teacher has received close to 50 rejections from publishers thus far, he remains hopeful because his students continue to grow and improve.
“Everyone has their quirks, and that’s a good thing,” Ulmer stated. “We give ignorance a free pass. There is no excuse for a lack of empathy.”
All images via Special Books by Special Kids.