Testimonials

We are very proud and fortunate to be a partner with Understanding Disabilities. For over 30 years, these outstanding learning experiences have helped our students develop a better understanding and empathy for children with disabilities. These life-long skills are critical for all of our students and help contribute to a more safe and supportive school and community environment. We look forward to continuing our partnership with UD in providing a strong disability awareness program in our district for many years to come.

Dr. John Doherty

Reading School Superintendent

Having taught UD’s new lesson about Emotional and Behavioral Health, I can say there’s nothing better than seeing UD lessons reveal themselves in the real-life interactions between children… witnessing compassion and empathy is quite a reward!

Jennifer Currant

Family Art Therapist

Our young people are experiencing unimaginable amounts of stress in a world that is increasingly challenging to navigate. UD has found a way to talk about how incredibly resilient young people are and how powerful the adults in their lives can be.

Sara Burd

Director of Guidance and Social Emotional Learning, Arlington Public Schools

The new curriculum teaches acceptance, inclusion, and respect in clear and engaging language that children understand and relate to. My children have always come home eager to share what they have learned during UD lessons, and carry those meaningful experiences with them beyond the classroom. I was excited to contribute to UD’s new curriculum.

Jennifer LeBovidge

Parent and Psychologist at Boston Children’s Hospital

Although I was born without my right leg and hip, I choose to focus on who I am, not what I have. These are the values I try to exemplify in my life. I value UD because it is directly in line with the topics I discuss in my speeches. UD is a wonderful program, and I am thrilled to help out in any way possible.

Nicolai Calabria

UD Advisory Board

I am an enthusiastic and vocal cheerleader for the new UD program. I love the program and the impact it has had on my children and all Reading children. I am excited that the new program is even more relevant and positive and focused on the how-to of respectful relationships.

Christine Hylan

Parent and former PTO officer

UD is changing the world – I have witnessed it!  Ask any child or volunteer who has participated in UD – it changes their lives. Understanding Disabilities empowers children to better understand their peers, both on the inside and the outside. Stereotypes and fear are confronted, questions are encouraged. In so doing, the potential for new relationships are born. And, UD’s impact grows exponentially! UD students become role models to not only their peers but people of all generations.

Linda Snow Dockser, Ph.D.

Reading School Committee

It is critical to the social and emotional development of our children that we help them understand that we are the same inside. UD, you do this like no other!

Kathleen Kelly

Student Benefits Counselor, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission

I value that UD promotes an inclusive society by educating non-disabled children about the value of empathy. I value that UD educates children to understand individual differences and embrace diversity.

Sue Luh

Ed-ability co-founder

This innovative program draws inclusive, kind, compassionate behavior from our kids. Students are encouraged to find common ground with their peers and are taught how to act respectfully. We are fortunate to have the Understanding Disabilities Program in our schools. It helps prepare our students to be successful, productive citizens in an increasingly diverse world.

Jeanne Borawski

Reading School Committee

I believe whole-heartedly in inclusion in education and the message that we are all the same inside, with both challenges and talents. The UD curriculum innovation, with its strong focus on How-To-Interact in a positive and respectful way, is a strong support system for inclusion.

Tara Price

UD Program Leader

I need UD because I learned people who are blind can climb mountains. Awesome!

Amara Psichos

Student

People with disabilities are just like us. They have dreams and other things just like us.

4th-grade student

Birch Meadow Elementary School

Even though we might not look, talk and walk the same, we are all the same inside.

5th-grade student

Barrows Elementary School

Nobody is different than you, and if they are we are all the same inside.

5th-grade student

JW Killam Elementary School

Understanding disabilities is awesome! It allows me to share how I feel about having a disability, and I feel like I understand other people’s disabilities more fully now. I like how people get to participate more than in regular school. In UD the teachers ask questions and then play games that make the learning fun.

Ruby Giunta

Student

As a former RPS student who had the privilege of going through the UD program, I firmly believe that UD plays a crucial role in preventing ableist beliefs and practices in our community and creating a positive peer network for all RPS students. I am delighted to have contributed to the new curriculum and its greater impact on community.

Briana Brukilacchio

Ed.M., Graduate Fellow


UD is resistance, in a time when a certain few chose to ridicule the rights of others. UD is education, arguably the most important kind. An opportunity to apply kindness, acceptance and inclusion to a fresh generation of leaders. UD uses moments of giggles and finger pointing, turning them into moments of enlightenment and that a disability is not a mockery. UD is tolerance in a world that so desperately needs it. UD is a spit in the face of bigotry and hate, standing its ground in the face of adversity. They turn Differences into Friendships. But most importantly, UD is Love, teaching us that We are all the same Inside.

Jacob Berman

UD graduate

I am proud of the new program. Everyone knows a child needs to feel comfortable in their learning environment in order to free their energies to focus on learning. This new program is awesome. It helps teachers shape their classroom learning environment to feel safe and comfortable for all their students including those who are feeling different or isolated. And doesn’t that at some point describe every child?

Stacy Dolliver

Special Education teacher, Music Educator

Understanding Disabilities helps me stay positive about our family’s daily challenges with food allergies. UD strengthens our community by fostering understanding and empathy.

Nancy Benson

Parent

It is daunting to move to a new town with a child with a disability and I was nervous for my child in all the usual ways. Will she make friends? Will she be made fun of? Thanks to UD, my daughter entered a school environment of understanding and acceptance. It also gave her the opportunity to educate her peers and see herself in a confident and positive light.

Daisy Giunta

Parent

The open and gentle manner in which the new curriculum talks about differences and teaches respect creates true compassion. Children recognize that people are “people” first.

Nancy Chandler O'Brien

Parent

UD allows the opportunity to share valuable information and experience that we are more alike than different in dealing with challenges. It allows others to understand perspectives from another point of view.

Lisa Looby

Parent