Monday, March 4, 2013

dis•a•bil•i•ty: isn’t what defines a person

Living with the challenge of a disability in life does not make or define a person. Jennifer Kuhns, award winning author, painter and poet, understands and has lived through misconceptions attached to being physically disabled. Her primary reason and goal for writing her first book, “Were You Born In That Chair?” published 2010, was to give children an unbiased look at what a disability is and to aid in changing the view of disabilities. One might say, “Were You Born In That Chair?” is an odd title for a children's book, but the original idea for the story came from a personal experience Jennifer was confronted with during her first day as a mainstreamed student in a "regular" kindergarten class. She had attended a special education preschool for three years previously, where having a disability was not an oddity. Disabilities were a part of life. She was exposed to both physically and mentally disabled children, some of whom were deaf, blind, autistic, and epileptic, missing or had deformed limbs, Down's syndrome, and those with cerebral palsy such as herself. Many years later she grew to understand through her exposure to the variety of disabilities during that time, that it gave her an inclusive view of people, a view many children do not have an opportunity to explore.

Jennifer has conducted extensive research on the topic of folklore and literature for children, and has come to the realization that children's folklore in the form of literature is an important tool for a variety of reasons. It is her opinion, beginning with folklore, that children's literature opens up an entertaining portal for children to be taught about and to examine life, through the transcendent power of literature. She believes because children have such levels of imagination and acceptance, literature has the potential to change perspectives and create new views. Her passion resides in literature and education without prejudice for children, as well as helping children understand that being different isn't a bad thing. Jennifer continues to strive toward the idea of inclusion and acceptance in her writing as she reminds us that we all have some kind of disability. Some are seen and some are not. Some are as large as wheelchairs and some as small as having to wear glasses. We invite you to discover the website of Jennifer Kuhns and explore more of her passion for art, writing and her new book to be released soon!