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Being Realistic isn't Realistic on or

Being Realistic isn't Realistic: Collected Essays on Disability, Identity, Inclusion and Innovation

In this engaging, humorous and provocative collection of essays, Emma Van der Klift and Norman Kunc gently prod us to rethink many taken for granted and unquestioned assumptions about the nature of disability.

They begin with a challenge and an assertion; people have the right to be disabled and should be under no obligation to minimize or hide their disabilities. Disability, they contend, is not a tragic medical condition, but is an inherent part of the diversity of the human condition – an identity to be embraced with pride.

They go on to explore the sometimes overlooked complexities of inclusion – both at school and in the community. In one essay, they ask us to rethink the relationship between ability and opportunity and challenge the presumption that people need to acquire abilities before they are afforded the opportunity to participate in regular schools and the broader community. In another, they ask us to consider how we might ensure that friendship between non-disabled and disabled people doesn't become contaminated by benevolence, underestimation and paternalism.

Throughout this book, they playfully draw unexpected connections between disability, innovation and a number of seemingly unrelated topics - like belly dance, chess and magic.

See the Table of Contents
and a Sample Chapter

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Talk to Me on or

Talk To Me: What Educators (and Others) Can Learn About De-Escalation From Hostage Negotiators

Student disruption at school can take up an enormous amount of time, energy, and even financial resources. Confrontations can result not only in personal stress for both students and teachers, but in conflicts that involve families and the larger community. However, it's not always easy to know what to do or how to respond.

In this original and highly engaging book, Emma Van der Klift suggests that "cross-pollination" - applying the lenses of one field to the issues faced by another - can generate unexpected insights and open new ways to think and act. Based on a year's worth of fascinating interviews with hostage negotiators from all over North America, this book shows how crisis negotiators de-escalate distraught individuals through communication. Instead of relying on either punishment, reward or directives – something commonly done in education – hostage negotiators rely on listening and support and are successful in resolving more than 90 percent of the issues they are called upon to negotiate without loss of life, injury, or the use of coercion.

This book offers a wealth of suggestions and advice from negotiators, and is not only about how we can help someone to de-escalate when they are in crisis, but also, and perhaps most importantly, about how we can learn to effectively de-escalate ourselves during difficult interchanges.

See the Table of Contents
and the Introduction





  • Van der Klift & Kunc: Ability & Opportunity In The Rearview Mirror (2017)

  • Kunc: The Need To Belong: Rediscovering Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs (1992

  • Kunc: Integration: Being Realistic Isn't Realistic (1984)

    Updated versions of these articles are included in our book,
    Being Realistic isn't Realistic  




  • Kunc & Van der Klift: In Spite Of My Disability (1995)

  • Van der Klift: "We Don’t Know What We’re Handing You

    Updated versions of these articles are included in our book,
    Being Realistic isn't Realistic