Seasoned educator Patricia E. Bailey shares her insights into the world of young people with diverse needs in the practical and informative BEYOND EXPECTATIONS INTO A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES.
The book’s title immediately foreshadows its contents and is a gentle reminder that perhaps we unwittingly form judgments and impose limitations on those who fall into a category of educational or social need. Bailey challenges any such boundaries and uses a combination of research, case studies, and personal experience to illustrate what is possible when armed with well-informed strategies and approaches.
As a self-confessed introvert with sensory difficulties and an anxiety disorder, Bailey is well placed to connect with the needs of those individuals who are recipients of her expertise. This, coupled with 45 years of hands-on experience, invites confidence in the author’s guidance. In BEYOND EXPECTATIONS this guidance is structured into eight chapters with illustrative headings – for example, ‘Misbehavior or Miscommunication’ – which helps readers navigate the text and dip into relevant sections after reading. Each chapter commences with a pertinent quotation to encapsulate the essence of its theme, followed by exposition of research-based knowledge, some real-life examples, and culminating with a list of helpful key points. The blend of the three within each chapter is what makes this book particularly useful: the commentary lends authenticity, the anecdotal examples humanize the theory, and the key points offer a real ‘handbook’ feel. Moreover, when read sequentially this book also has something of a storytelling element – the children and young adults mentioned in the opening chapter are revisited at intervals, so readers gain a rounded picture of various stages of their development and how specific strategies have impacted them.
At the heart of BEYOND EXPECTATIONS is the concept of communication. Bailey delineates the frustrations experienced when meaning cannot be conveyed and received. The inability to effectively communicate applies to a range of conditions, including but not limited to those on the autistic spectrum. As such, Bailey recognizes that building trust and having a toolbox of strategies to employ are crucial. Many methods rely on the art of good judgment – for example, knowing when it is appropriate to use images and symbols, or when ‘silence is golden’ in order to give the child an ‘opportunity to process and respond’. Bailey emphasizes the importance of entering their world rather than trying to force them into ours, and to always be careful to ‘talk with and not to’. Communication, Bailey asserts, affords power, which in turn equips the individual with the means to take more control over their own lives.
While BEYOND EXPECTATIONS will primarily prove a valuable resource to educators and those in a care-giving role, it is fundamentally a book about connecting with others on a human level – on that basis, its potential readership is a wide one.
~Amanda Ellison for IndieReader
This book is beautifully written with relevant real-life experiences from all sides of the education team: student, teacher, and parent. It is also well organized and east to follow. It was helpful to frame the experiences in a real-life story instead of your typical educational instruction book that is void of personal experiences and applications. (It wasn’t bogged down with a bunch of psychological and educational terms and references.) This book will be valuable to parents, teachers, special education assistants, and students in college.
– Val Cook, parent
This is a must-read informative resource book for all educators, care providers and parents who need to communicate and connect with individuals with diverse abilities. Patricia Bailey has given us a wealth of information bringing experience and theory to life, sharing personal insights into work situations and providing the reader with many examples of shared techniques and of practical strategies. She provides a helpful glossary with explanations of communication deficits and together with the strategies and techniques which can be used to facilitate programming.
Throughout, she empowers all individuals with trust, with confidence and with a desire to be a constant learner. Above all, she promotes an environment of empathy for those dealing with communication challenges and one which engages their diverse abilities.
Beyond Expectations Into a World of Possibilities is a valuable resource that can be used not only for children, teens and young adults with diverse abilities but also for adults and the elderly with communication needs.
– Linda Raskewicz – Support teacher, retired
In my position as an administrator in social services, I had interaction with individuals, parents, agencies and of course my co-workers as part of the integral team providing services.
I believe this book would be a valuable resource for social workers, parents, and anyone trying to provide the very best service to our individuals. Any resource tool is needed to give diverse ideas, experiences etc. to assist in making lives better. The author’s experiences are invaluable and heart warming. She has put her soul into the book.
It would be amazing to have the book as a learning tool at UFV [University of Fraser Valley, B.C.] or other teaching centres for care workers or social workers. I believe that it would be great to have it also in agency offices so staff can get ideas too.
– Shannon Timms – Administrator with Social Services and Community Living B.C., retired
I had the privilege of reading portions of this book as Patricia was writing it. Having worked with special needs children for over 18 years I strongly recommend this as a perspective that will help parents, caregivers, teachers, and professionals.
– Rob Donald, retired social worker, special needs foster parent