Support for PBS Parents provided by:

  • Cat in the Hat
  • Curious George
  • Daniel Tiger
  • Dinosaur Train
  • Odd Squad
  • Peg + Cat
  • Sid the Science Kid
  • Super Why!
  • Wild Kratts
  • Martha Speaks
  • WordGirl
  • Thomas & Friends
  • Arthur
  • Sesame Street
  • The Electric Company
  • Cyberchase
  • Between the Lions
  • Mama Mirabelle
  • Caillou
  • Chuck Vanderchuck
  • Oh Noah
  • Fetch!
  • Fizzy's Lunch Lab
  • Maya & Miguel
  • Mister Rogers
  • Postcards from Buster
  • Clifford
  • SciGirls
  • Wilson & Ditch
  • WordWorld
  • DragonFly TV
  • ZOOM


Learning Disabilities

The Journey Begins

Betsy toddlerI would like to tell you about the journey that has enabled me to have the independence I enjoy today. From the time I was born, my parents had a vision for me like they had for my four siblings. The vision was that I would have a happy childhood — growing, playing and going to school with the other kids in my neighborhood. My parents felt it was important that I have the opportunity to become an active and contributing member of our community.

Betsy classWhen I was two-and-a-half-years-old, I went to the nursery school around the corner from my house. The story goes that I was so happy there that my parents worked with my school district so that I could be included in my own neighborhood school starting in preschool. Now we call this “Inclusive Education,” but at the time it just seemed like the right thing to do. I never liked being called “special” because I just wanted to be one of the kids.

Betsy playWhen I was little, I loved to dance and sing, so I went to the School of Visual and Performing Arts (SVPA), a magnet school in our public school system. Besides general education and resource classes, I was in many theatrical productions during my school years. In a school play, being chosen to be Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” was one of my happiest moments.

Betsy class 2By the end of middle school, I had a “Circle of Friends” that was made up of family, teachers, classmates and friends. I loved when we met because I could share my dreams for my future. The Circle would help me figure out how I could make those dreams a reality. Although my biggest dream was to live in Florida and become a rock star, I also began to focus on the other things in life that were important to me and what support I needed to accomplish them.

Betsy parentsOne time in eighth grade, I was asked to speak at a conference about my dreams for the future. I discovered I liked speaking to groups of people and soon I was being asked to share my experiences with others. I have traveled as far as San Francisco, Baltimore, Seattle and Washington, D.C., giving keynote addresses and participating in national conferences. I tell people about how successful it can be to live an inclusive life — in your own school and community — when you have people who support and believe in you.

Transitioning to Adulthood

What's this?

Sign up for free newsletters.

Connect with Us

PBS Parents Picks

  1. Peg + Cat Craft image

    Peg + Cat Craft

    Young fans of Peg + Cat will love making their favorite, energetic friends from simple everyday materials from around the house.

  2. Draw a Neighborhood image

    Draw a Neighborhood

    Did you know that March 20th would have been Mister Roger's 87th birthday? Celebrate his memory with this neighborhood activity.

  3. From Our Sponsor image

    From Our Sponsor

    Learn more about Mighties™ kiwi, the easy-to-eat, nutrient-rich healthy snack.

Eat Smart for a Great Start Newsletter


PBS Parents Newsletter

Find activities, parenting tips, games from your child's favorite PBS KIDS programs and more.