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Brianna. Fallon Blask Erika Cottet Nicole Iafe. Brianna. Full of energy and out going Extroverted personality Loves hugs and sharing Loves to play “hard” She enjoys competition Active child that explores her environment with great enthusiasm

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Fallon Blask

Erika Cottet

Nicole Iafe


Full of energy and out going

Extroverted personality

Loves hugs and sharing

Loves to play “hard”

She enjoys competition

Active child that explores her environment with great enthusiasm

Interacted well with other children of different ages

Very smart, identified all the letters of the alphabet by age 5

“She could sort of get away with looking real dainty and catch them off guard, then suddenly giving them a sock or something, or jumping on their back. I don’t worry about other children picking on her, to the contrary, I warn older kids to be careful, she’s not as harmless as she pretends.” –Paulette


home life
Home Life

Raised in a strong Christian home.

Enjoys time with older sister Netta.

Lived in suburban neighborhood in a single family home.

Paulette tried to work mostly from home.

Very friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

Brianna spent most of her time downstairs in the playroom with her toys.


Brianna was known as “God’s Challenge”

Brianna was adopted by Paulette at 5 months old

Born with Down Syndrome

Placement process took 2 months

First lesson in Paulette learning to be an advocate for Brianna

advocacy for life
Advocacy For Life
  • Paulette took a class so she could adopt a child with a disability
  • Paulette then became a stronger believer in the Pro-life movement
  • Paulette negotiated to work from home to raise Bri
child care
Child Care
  • Bri with foster mother was receiving Early Intervention and continued when she was adopted.
  • Paulette struggled to find adequate child care.
  • People continued to make excuses to not take Bri because of her disability.
  • Initially provided 6 months of day care at home.
  • Final day care provider with religious instruction: Mrs. B.
  • Good fit: structure, other children, collaborated with early intervention staff.
child care and early intervention collaboration
Child Care and Early Intervention Collaboration
  • Few issues:
    • Therapist was not a good fit
    • Various adults working with Bri assessed her differently
  • Paulette wanted better coordination with services.
  • Services provided on-site and in-facility.
  • Switched coordination services from the school to The ARC (Association for Retarded Citizens).
what do you think
What do you think?
  • “People working in the special education system come in with biases because of their training and lack of exposure to typical children with different abilities.” -Paulette
  • Paulette wanted Bri to be in a general first grade class.
  • Bri attended child care program from age 1-4
    • Unique inclusive placement at Mrs. B.’s
    • Family child care: more like home
    • Bri’s interaction with other children was similar to that of siblings
  • Paulette valued interactions and wanted Bri to be in general child care as well as special programs.
  • Preschool was viewed as preparation for school with assistance from special ed. when needed.
visions of the future
Visions of the Future
  • Paulette’s idea of inclusion changed
    • Concerned about negative exposure children receive in the public school environment.
    • Paulette believed Bri needed a more sheltered environment until she could determine what is appropriate and safe to imitate.
bri growing up
Bri Growing Up!
  • Paulette emphasized normalcy
  • By age 5 Bri was very attractive in appearance and personality.
    • Model
    • Attention
  • Marriage: “I am beginning to be one of those people who want to choose their daughter’s husband.”
  • Expects Bri to marry a typical man but may fall in love with someone with a mental or physical disability.
  • Priority is a man who is a Christian.