Friday, November 25, 2005

Change the world to support people with disabilities!

Have you ever wished that the world would magically change and be fully accessible, respectful and valuing of people with disabilities? Would you want to make a difference, but aren't sure what you can do? Wouldn't it be great if there was an easy way to promote positive outcomes for people with disabilities, assistive technology and help others realize the barriers? Hundreds of people are already doing so on their cars, shirts, mail, walls, dogs, heads and other places. They are spreading the word with images and designs that promote inclusion and quality of life for people with disabilities. The Parent Side is the disability rights store that people are talking about. Check it out, hurry and order soon to have your great products in time for holiday giving! Show that you too are part of a bigger movement supporting people with disabilities!

"The Parent Side" on-line store
It's a campaign for inclusion and against exclusion!

The Holiday Season is upon us!
Give a unique gift that makes a statement!
If you haven't visited The Parent Side (tm) on-line store yet, or in a while, you're in for a pleasant surprise!


  • clear graphics that really get the message across.
    designs available: LRE, AT, Diversity, Ability, Super Advocate, cartoons about IEP's and many more!
  • A variety of products from mugs, T-shirts to hats, makes it easy to find something for everyone.
  • even those on tight budgets can find unique bumper stickers, magnets and buttons.


  • New Black T-shirts are here!
  • New children's hoodies baseball jerseys and sweatshirts
  • New women's cap sleeve T-shirt


  • Missing person on a milk carton image demonstrates exclusion verses inclusion.
    View the details in section "Missing Person / Inclusion Carton".
    Advocates, self-advocates and others will really enjoy the simple clear message this one promotes!
  • Surgeon General's warning design
    "Exclusion of people with disabilities may be hazardous to your community"
    Other new designs on bumper stickers!!

HOLIDAY CARDS (choose from 3 designs)

  • Why not promote inclusion and diversity with your holiday greetings?


  • Use Coupon Code: FreeShip (Expires Dec. 6th)
  • Shipping Deadlines to receive by December 23rd Super Saver December 8th; USPS December 8th; Ground December 12th; 2 Day December 19th; 1 Day December 21st

Shop now at and be done with your holiday shopping early!
Please note: If the pages or images do not load fully, please be patient, or revisit at a later time
(At times the server is slow or busy)


The on-line store is created by Colleen Tomko, a parent and advocate for inclusion, a Penn State graduate, a graduate of Partners in Policymaking, and president of Kids Together, Inc. which is an all-volunteer unfunded non-profit. Visit Kids Together, Inc. for information on inclusion, resources, articles and links that have been helpful to thousands.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Great designs and new black T-shirts!

If you haven't visited "The Parent Side" (tm) on-line store yet, or recently, you'll be pleasantly surprised when you do. A large variety of products with many different designs await you to help promote a positive image of people with disabilities. The newest product is the black T-shirt. Black T-shirts have been the most asked for product and they are finally here, just in time for Christmas!

There are designs promoting celebrating diversity, which include people with disabilities. There are cartoons that highlight scenarios that many people and families of people with disabilities face. Some designs speak out against inclusion, and others make a simply comparison between inclusion and exclusion. There is a section that uses humor in the designs about attending IEP meetings. Several designs highlight LRE, Least Restictive environment, as required under federal the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. LRE means all placement decisions for students with disabilities must begin with looking at the regular education class, not as it is, but as it could be with supports, services adaptations and modifications for the student.

Fighting to get your child with a disability included in school? There are a variety of tote bags to get the message across as to what you want, with a list of laws and federal court outcomes that support your child's right to inclusion in the classroom. Carry your papers to meeting in one of these! And if you had a great advocate help you, or you are a great advocate or you know a person who is a great self-advocate, there's designs that make great gifts or help you toot your horn!

The Parent Side also carries three designs of Christmas Holiday Cards that promote inclusion. Why not promote something positive with your holiday greetings?

T-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers, clocks, bibs, mousepads, buttons (great for handouts), sweatshirts, apparel, magnets, posters and more all make great gifts for the holidays! Check it out and give something unique to an individual with a disability, their family members or any advocate or professional that supports inclusive practice! If you promote best practice for people with disabilities you're going to love the bumper stickers with attitude!

(The Parent Side does not produce disability specific designs because the goal of the designs is for people to see people with disabilities as people first, not a label. I realize that at times labels such as Autism, Down syndrome, developmental delay, Cerebral Palsy, and others are useful in acquiring eligibility of services, however in every day life if people are referred to only by a label they tend to be stereotyped and loose their individualism. Every person, even those with the same labels, is a unique individual, and the disability is one piece of who they are, it does not define the person)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Disability Rights

As a parent and advocate, I started drawing cartoons to express the issues that families and people with disabilities must face. The frustrations are created not so much by the disability, as they are by outside forces, such as false sterotypes, misperceptions, inaccessible environments and fragmented systems and supports.

Others related to these cartoons and many asked for them to be available on a variety of prooducts such as t-shirts, mugs, cards etc., to help promote a positive image of people with disabilities and to battle the barriers that many face. That's what led me to creating "The Parent Side"(tm) on-line store. It is a campaign for inclusion and against exclusion! Visit the store at . As families battle to get their children with disabilities inclusive education, many face the same struggles again and again. I try to capture the reality with a dash of humor and a bit of attitude to shake things up. If you ever heard of the phrase, "if you keep doing what you are doing, you'll keep getting what you are getting". Well, that certainly applies in this situation and there needs to be a united effort to create positive change. This isn't just a disability issue, what affects one person really affects affects everyone in our communities. One out of five Americans has a disability and one out of ten children. Almost everyone knows and cares about a person who has a disability. It's time that we value everyone and provide equal access and opportunities to all citizens!

I also run an unfunded all-volunteer non-profit 501(c)3 called Kids Together, Inc., the mission is to promote inclusive communities where all people belong. On this website I post information about inclusive education, inclusion in the community, vision building, early intervention, people first language, IEP, IDEA, assistive technology, vision building and just about anything that affects people with disabilities. The bottom line it promotes inclusion and appropriate support for overall quality of life.