“Part of advocating for people with any type of disability is being able to teach others what that disability entails, what kind of assistance they need and the laws people should be abiding by.”
by Ela Schwartz“Part of advocating for people with any type of disability is being able to teach others what that disability entails, what kind of assistance they need and the laws people should be abiding by.” — Emily Ladau
Not Just for Teachers
The Future Teachers Association at Adelphi is a valuable asset to students who wish to become educators, especially those in the Scholar Teacher Education Program (S.T.E.P.). Just ask Emily Ladau, a senior who has been a member since freshman year, serving as vice president and now director of public relations.
“This is a community of people who all want to improve on their teaching skills,” she said about the group of 20 to 30 dedicated members. “But we’re not S.T.E.P. exclusive. Anyone who is looking for valuable life and leadership skills can come to our meetings.”
Emily explained that students who do plan for a career in education can take advantage of a variety of workshops that focus on topics such as diversity, bullying, creating lesson plans or honing job interview skills. “It’s really important for us to help student teachers get their feet wet without being under the pressure of student teaching,” she said.
Members of the group get to participate in activities that benefit both Adelphi and local communities with charity walks and activities such as Kindergarten Night, at which Adelphi students preparing for final exams got to alleviate stress by fingerpainting, sculpting with Play-Doh and making teddy bears. “We had a big crowd and may repeat [the event] this year,” Emily said. “We’re also hoping to do activities with children from local communities and give back in a way that’s relevant to teaching.”
Emily initially planned to become a high school English teacher. But a summer internship with the Suffolk Independent Living Organization, where she helped teach self-advocacy and independent living skills to people with disabilities, made her realize her true calling is as an advocate for people with disabilities.
Emily has been in a wheelchair her entire life and knows all too well the challenges faced by those with disabilities. At age 10 she made several appearances on Sesame Street, where she enlightened countless young viewers that despite their differences, children with disabilities are really the same as everyone else.
Emily emphasized that while her goals have changed, what she’s learned from her education classes remains invaluable. “Part of advocating for people with any type of disability is being able to teach others what that disability entails, what kind of assistance they need and the laws people should be abiding by.”
Update: Emily graduated from Adelphi with the Class of 2013. We are proud to now count her among Adelphi’s alumni.
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