Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a visit or Skype session with the Dankelson Family
School visits can be customized to the age group. Our most popular request is to meet with students after they have read Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This is often 5th-6th grade students that are excited to meet someone like Auggie from the book. Our presentation relates scenes from the fictional story to real-life experiences that Peter or some of his friends from Children's Craniofacial Association have encountered. It is very interactive with lots of questions about scenes from the book. Our discussion includes the following points.
- everyone is different and no two people are the same but we also all have a lot in common like wanting to have friends, have fun, and feel safe
- what it means to be an "upstander" vs a "bystander"
- how much power we each have to change someone's day or even their life by simply choosing to be kind
- how a trach and feeding tube work and why people with facial differences sometimes need them
- the types of surgeries people with facial differences need to have and why
- how much fun it is to play jokes with a fake ear!
For younger students, we have a selection of age-appropriate books that discuss differences in a fun and sometimes silly way. One book we enjoy reading with K-1 grades is It's Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr. We also talk about trachs and feeding tubes with younger ages. Students that learn about medical necessities like trachs and feeding tubes feel smart, and they like to share what they've learned with other kids and adults. They learn there is nothing to fear. We also discuss staring and what you might do instead if you are curious or concerned about someone that looks different.
All of our school visits are very interactive and last about an hour, including the opportunity for students to ask questions. We like to have a screen for our PowerPoint presentation as well as sound for video and, for larger groups, a microphone.
Skype sessions can be anything from a Q & A to a more formal PowerPoint that can be emailed ahead of time to the teacher. The students can watch a video and go through the PowerPoint with their teacher and then email questions that can be answered during the Skype session.
We are also available to speak to medical groups. We've presented at hospital grand rounds sessions as well as to smaller groups of pediatric specialists, residents and fellows, nurses, therapists, and medical administrative personnel. We are able to speak about what it's really like to be a pediatric patient and the parent of a medically-complex child. Our family has also advocated on behalf of pediatric hospitals for continued funding to help with graduate medical education and children's healthcare coverage.