Jane B. Schulz
Grown Man Now: Memoir of a Special Educator
Now we can all be in her class!
Grown Man Now grants a rare and welcome perspective from a respected writer who is a professional educator, an author of groundbreaking textbooks (see About the Author), and a mother of four adults, one of whom has Down syndrome and is the book s Grown Man Now.
Many books offer insight into the life and development of infants, children and teens with Down syndrome. Grown Man Now lays its foundation here, but the difference between this book and others about people with special needs is its message that life doesn't end when school is over. In fact, for most individuals the most challenging years involve adult concerns: housing and home life, work, health, spirituality and community.
Billy's early years coincide with momentous American social movements: departure from institutionalizing children with disabilities, development of integration and civil rights movements, and federal legislation requirements for the education of children with disabilities through mainstreaming to inclusion. Grown Man Now reminds us of how far we have come in our understanding of people with special needs. It paints an intimate portrait of such an individual as well as a broader panorama of social change surrounding his development. People who are now enjoying the expression and reward of self-advocacy, independent and interdependent individuals who enjoy their lives, and communities that embrace the value and inspiration of diverse people will be moved and enlightened by this book.
Jane B. Schulz, EdD taught thousands of students during her career: college students, mainstreamed elementary students, special education classes and kindergarten. Through this deeply personal, honest memoir, she is still teaching, and now the audience includes us all.
Dr. Schulz lives and works a message of love and outreach, and in Grown Man Now she teaches us all to overcome obstacles, to understand and celebrate diversity, to avoid prejudice in all forms, to include people of all circumstance, and to advocate for those we love and for those in need. Her book is as her students describe her: warm, stimulating, engaging, penetrating, and funny; it is incorporated as required reading in college classrooms.
Grown Man Now is a personal journey as well as a historical one. Born in the 1920s, her early years convey the family life and exterior forces that molded her character into this determined peacemaker and civil rights pioneer. In 1956, at a time when people with Down syndrome were called Mongoloid and were considered hopeless and disposable, her third son, Billy, was born with the disability not diagnosed for over a year. Schulz's life and memoir chronicle the development of hope and opportunity for people with disabilities from Billy's infancy through the present, where the reader is given a rich portrayal of the life of a middle-aged man with Down syndrome, a grown man now.
M. Hyder on Amazon wrote:
GROWN MAN NOW first came into my hands as a gift from a person who knew that I had experience raising a son with severe challenges as a very young child. After reading it I ordered more from Amazon to give to friends who had had similar experiences. I wanted them to read a book very well written, engaging from the very first and, although heavily focused on the development of her child with Down Syndrome, is also about the author who met the challenges of raising four children, three of whom had no developmental problems. While confronting the burdens for over half a century of daily attention to the more needy child, who is GROWN MAN NOW in the book, she continued her own schooling through a PhD degree, teaching at the university level, helping to support and later care for a husband who had a stroke, releasing her other children into the world as educated, successful, contributing members of society, all of whom still love to come home and who love and cherish the company of their brother.
To me, although I certainly appreciate the contribution of GROWN MAN NOW to the development of the book, I am equally struck by the story of a woman whose life, as she tells it, is an inspiration to those of us who from time to time look back with a degree of self-pity for the hardships which have befallen us, and are cheered on by seeing that hardships can offer life great benefits if confronted with the grit to refuse to allow despair to introduce impotence into, and drive hope from, our lives. Reading the book helped me to recall the old hymns which enjoin us to "brighten the corner where we are" and to "blossom where we're planted."
As a special educator, this book was a perfect example of why we should break down barriers for our students with special needs and never put a cap on their level of ability. Jane's story is inspiring and honest. She not only shares her successes, but also shares her failures. Even with the failures, she never stops advocating for her son and other individuals with special needs. She is a true pioneer in the field of special education and she is to thank for opening the door to inclusive classrooms in schools.