Our Friend Mikayla

Our Friend Mikayla School Visit

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation gave a grant for a group of third-grade authors to publish a book about friendship and acceptance. “Our Friend Mikayla" is the story of a child with severe developmental disabilities, who finds true friendship and connection with her typical peers.

Written and illustrated by third-grade students at the Lower Nazareth Elementary School, Nazareth, PA., “Our Friend Mikayla,” is an honest portrayal of the children’s first reactions to Mikayla, their barriers to acceptance and finally the deep friendship they formed with her. Mikayla was born with profound brain damage resulting in spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, severe mental retardation, seizure disorder, legal blindness, hearing impairment, and numerous medical conditions related to her disabilities. Despite the severity of Mikayla’s disabilities, her parents strive to give her as normal a life as possible. When they moved to Pennsylvania the idea of full inclusion for a child with severe developmental disabilities was relatively new. Yet in keeping with their own personal philosophy, they requested that Mikayla be included in a regular first grade class.

What they found was that Mikayla’s classmates accepted Mikayla and began to see her as “just like them.” Their relationship with Mikayla and their journey to acceptance inspired the book. “Our Friend Mikayla” became the class project, mainly because Mikayla’s friends felt they had an important message to share with other children. Their goal was to teach other kids that, “From Mikayla, we’ve learned that people with disabilities aren’t really different. It doesn’t matter if your friend is in a wheelchair. Their disabilities don’t mean you cannot be friends. Having a friend with a disability is cool.”

The children have dedicated “Our Friend Mikayla” to “all people with disabilities and their friends.” When they chose the dedication, one of the children realized that might mean they were dedicating the book to everyone in the world.

The book is sold on The Bubel Aiken Foundation’s website and all net proceeds will help support the Foundation’s efforts towards full inclusion. 

Links:

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Spring newsletter with note from Kimberly Resh


Purchase "Our Friend Mikayla" from the BAF store here

Writing for Mikayla - Foundation to publish work that showcases Lower Nazareth classmate with a disability.

King of Clay Nation brings smiles to young authors

Clay Aiken's visit no idle lesson ** Singer has special delivery for Lower Nazareth's class of student authors.
Date Details and location on site Fountaindawg's Recaps

May 2006

TBAF sponsored it's first book, Our Friend Mikayla.

12/11/06

Clay visited Lower Nazareth Elementary school to read "Our Friend Mikayla" to the students who wrote it. He also arranged for the students to ride in a limousine

8/29/07

"Our Friend Mikayla" was chosen as the featured book for Read on Wisconsin's online book club.

April 8, 2010 Mikayla's Voice This article was written by the mother of Mikayla, the young girls featured in the book "Our Friend Mikayla". A few years ago, her fellow students at Lower Nazareth Elementary School in Pennsylvania wrote about adapting to their new classmate who had multiple developmental challenges and how they grew from fear/uncertainty to friendship as they came to know her. Funding for the book was provided by the 'Bubel/Aiken Foundation', now renamed the 'National Inclusion Project'. Hers is a beautiful story that illustrates how well the concept of "inclusion" can work for all parties involved. The book is available for purchase at the foundation's website: www.inclusionproject.org/
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