Meet the former teacher Chris Ulmer giving a voice to disabled children
The page, Special Books by Special Kids (SBSK), is the brainchild of Chris Ulmer, who worked for three years as a special education teacher in Florida (known as special educational needs teacher in the UK).
Owen cannot use his arms or legs so he moves around by rolling on the ground. For children like Owen, a Facebook page has given them a chance to share what they want the world to know about their diagnosis. "The students in my class were amazing. They were funny, engaging and charismatic," Chris says. "But the rest of our neighbourhood didn't really understand them. Nobody valued them. I wanted to show off these individuals and help them show the world what they had to offer." After trying to tell the stories in a book ("It was rejected by over 50 publishers", he laughs), Chris began to film interviews with his students and post them on social media.
Now he has more than one million followers and travels the world interviewing people of all ages inviting them to tell the world what is special about them. He refers to his subjects as "neurodiverse". "It means everyone's brain is diverse and when you respect that idea, you begin to see that everyone is the same," he explains. "I consider it my role to normalise the diversity of the human condition." One Facebook user commented: "You have a heart of gold. "More importantly, through your videos you have blown wide open a world that can be very isolating for families and their children bringing hope, friendship and collaboration through connection."