Jo Mach, Children's Author
Celebrating children with disabilities by sharing their stories
Jo Meserve Mach, children's book author, spent 36 years as an Occupational Therapist. She is very passionate about sharing the stories of children with special needs. Jo embraces the joy that individuals with disabilities bring to our communities through their unique gifts.
The most important thing the author wants readers to gain from her books:
After reading one of my books I hope the reader discovers how children with disabilities are just like other children, they just do things differently. They are delightful, fun and have wonderful gifts to share with all of us!
Why the author is an authority on the subject of her books:
I worked in an Early Intervention community based program for 17 years, doing home visits and providing Occupational Therapy services to children with special needs. I met hundreds of families and always saw a strong desire for their children to be included in their communities. Also, these parents read books to their children and they wanted to see their children in books.
I love to do Skype in the Classroom visits. I have visited classrooms around the world and I love to hear the ideas and thoughts students share during our discussions. I am flexible in my presentation to support the teacher, librarian, or counselor in meeting the needs of a unit they are working on or an issue they are having. My lessons include: "Let's Include Everyone!," "Interviewing As a Technique for Writing Nonfiction," "Finding a Job in Your Community," "Making a Book," "Accepting Others," and "Being a Bully or Teasing." My books are diverse in culture, gender, race, setting and disability, so I have a variety of books I can use in a presentation. I am very open to supporting inclusion however it might be helpful to the audience.
Here are some examples of my experience:
- High school students in a job training program asked me to visit and talk about "I Want to Be Like Poppin' Joe," which shares a true story of an adult with Down syndrome and autism who owns his own popcorn business. We talked about how he made his choice in careers. The group skyped me the following month and each student had a poster showing what kind of job they had chosen.
- A child psychologist asked me to talk about writing nonfiction to 7th and 8th graders.
- 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade teachers asked me to speak about Poppin' Joe's book as an introduction to their entrepreneur unit.
- Several elementary school visits on anti-bullying including a middle school visit from a school for the deaf (one student went on to sign one of our books in a video that is now on YouTube).
- An adult ELL teacher in Spain asked me to read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and then we skyped to talk about it.
- Many talks about inclusion with students sharing their experiences about friends or family members they have with disabilities
I welcome any ideas that make this world more inclusive and want to support them!