Picture of 3 dancers, holding hands

Dance of Partnership

"More than ever, professionals and parents of children with disabilities are being asked to work in partnership."

Janice Fialka -- Bio
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See Janice's New Book! What Matters: Reflections on Disability, Community and Love

"If you read only one book this year, make it this one. It's the real deal." - Cheryl M. Jorgensen PhD, Inclusive Education Consultant


Janice Fialka Janice Fialka, LMSW, ACSW is a nationally-recognized lecturer, author, and advocate on issues related to disability, parent-professional partnerships, inclusion, raising a child with disabilities, sibling issues, and post-secondary education. She is also a parent, poet, a compelling storyteller, and an award-winning advocate for families and persons with disabilities.

A sought-after presenter, Janice has provided the keynote address and workshops at numerous renowned national, state, and local conferences throughout the United States and Canada. Janice also conducts workshops for schools, human service organizations, and parent and advocacy groups.

Twenty years ago, Janice established herself as a major contributor to the national conversation about parent-professional partnerships through her highly-regarded writings, keynote, and workshops titled, The Dance of Partnership: Why do my feet hurt? She reflects with sensitivity, humor, and compassion on the challenges facing parents and professionals as they seek to build successful working relationships on behalf of children with disabilities. Janice speaks and writes from both her unique vantage point as the mother of Micah, her adult son with an intellectual disability and as an experienced social worker of 40 years. Her writings are published widely in textbooks, journals, and family and professional publications. Janice's trainings and writings are empowering, deeply engaging, and always practical.

Learn more about her son, Micah Fialka Feldman, a disability activist and speaker. Micah was recently appointed to the Presidential Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Micah is featured in a forthcoming documentary by the award-winning filmmaker, Dan Habib (creator of Including Samuel). Watch the 14 minute trailer of Intelligent Lives (working title) which explores how some people with intellectual disabilities are blazing a bold new path.


Put on your dancing shoes and explore!
About Janice Fialka
Meet Janice and learn about her philosophy and how she creatively uses the dance metaphor to empower others to discover their courage to dream.

Bio >>
Workshops & Trainings
Janice presents workshops on numerous topics. Learn more about her trainings on parent professional partnerships. Contact her for your next event.

Workshops & Trainings >>
Publications & DVDs
Explore Janice's publications, books, poetry, and her award-winning DVD, co-produced with her husband Rich Feldman, Through the Same Door: Inclusion Includes College.

Publications >>

 

Janice's Newest Publication (July 2016)

Book

What Matters: Reflections on Disability, Community and Love
By Janice M. Fialka

This is the story of Micah, who has an intellectual disability, his community, and his ground-breaking journey to full inclusion in K-12 schools, college, work and life. It is told by Micah, as well as his parents, his sister, friends and colleagues in essays, poems and interviews.

Despite such labels as "low I.Q.", "unemployable" and "not-a-student," the book powerfully chronicles how Micah was fully included since elementary school, and later, how he challenged discrimination in the federal court, and won, how he moved 300 miles from his home to became a teaching assistant at Syracuse University, and most recently, how he survived heart surgery.

It offers practical strategies to ensure authentic lifelong inclusion, create circles of support, help parents shift from protectors to guides. Micah and his community are mentors on how to honor interdependency, redefine disability, cultivate relationships, and live a meaningful life. A book of hope and practical guidance for families, self-advocates, professionals and all there rest of us---because we all need to be included.

Read what people are saying about the book.

To order the book, visit Publications.

A Book Used in University Courses, Trainings, and by Families across the Country:

Book

Parents and Professionals Partnering for Children With Disabilities: A Dance That Matters
By Janice M. Fialka, Arlene K. Feldman and Karen C. Mikus
Foreword by Ann P. Turnbull

Nominated for the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Association of Educational Publishers!

Written from both the parent's and the professional's points-of-view, this book is rich with stories, examples, and practical suggestions. Using dance as a metaphor, the authors provide a developmental approach to understanding and forging positive adult relationships while showing concrete ways to advocate for and with children.

Read what people are saying about the book.

To order the book, visit Publications.

"Rarely does a book hold such promise for promoting genuine partnerships between professionals and families of children with disabilities. The real-life passages, from the authors, seasoned parents and experienced professionals infuse this work with practical approaches and unparalleled authenticity."

-Susan Addison, Special Educator, Retired, Chattanooga, TN

"Using understandable, jargon-free language, the authors help professionals and parents understand each others' viewpoints. I highly recommend his book for novice and veteran parents and professionals."

- Stephanie Smith Lee, Former Director, Office of Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

 

Poems by Janice:

From Puddles to Pride:
A mother's poems about her son, his disability, and her family's transformation


Listen to Janice read two of her poems accompanied by original piano music and stunning photos.

Puddles to Pride: Marching at the First Disability Pride Parade

Advice to Professionals Who Must "Conference Cases"

 

What people say about Janice:

"She speaks with passion, wisdom, and heart. She is easily capable of moving you to tears, with her personal stories, while providing precious pearls of wisdom for parents and professionals."

--Joseph Manary, Counselor, Alpena, Michigan

 

"Janice, you were the star of MarylandÂâ