campus news & events

Colby-Sawyer College Hosts Documentary 'Including Samuel' About Inclusion of Children with Disabilities

NEW LONDON, N.H., Feb. 1, 2008 – Colby-Sawyer College will host a viewing of “Including Samuel,” an award-winning documentary about the educational and social inclusion of children and young adults with disabilities. The film's director and producer, Concord Monitor photojournalist Dan Habib, will answer questions following the film.

“Including Samuel” will be shown at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 12, in Clements Hall of the Curtis L. Ivey Science Center. Admission is free and the public is welcome to attend.

The inspiration for “Including Samuel” comes from the struggle of Habib's own son, Samuel, who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The film also features four other families, each with varied experiences in respect to the inclusion of their disabled child, as well as interviews with teachers, students, parents and disability rights experts. Read more about the making of the film.

When Samuel was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, a neurological disorder that appears in childhood and effects body movement and muscle coordination, Habib and his wife Betsy were concerned for their son's future. “How could he run around on the playground and play kick ball when he couldn't run?” said Samuel's mother. “How could he yak on the phone with his teenage friends when he has trouble talking? How could he get a full education and go to college when he can't hold a pencil?”

Samuel's neurologist advised Habib to use his experience as a photojournalist to his advantage and show what life is like for the parents, families and children who are dealing with a disability, and so came “Including Samuel.” In the film, Habib interviews Keith Jones, a disability rights advocate and hip-hop artist with cerebral palsy, who while in school told his teachers that he did not want to spend his days doing arts and crafts; he wanted to do math problems and be included with the other children. Habib also interviews Carol Ward, a horticulture teacher at a public high school, who talks about the strain that inclusion policies in schools have on teachers.

“I did not have any formal or informal training to have these students in my class,” Ward said in the film. “I have cried many times about this year. I don't know what to do. I don't want another year like this year.”

Regarding Samuel's education, Habib is pro-inclusion, meaning that he wants Samuel to attend the same schools that his brother Isaiah does. Samuel is now in the second grade at Beaver Meadow Elementary School, the same school his brother went to, which began including students with disabilities in mainstream classes more than 20 years ago.

“Including Samuel” has won the annual Positive Images in Media award from TASH, an international group that focuses on the full inclusion of people with disabilities, and was named “Best Documentary” of the 2007 Somewhat North of Boston Film Festival.

Colby-Sawyer, founded in 1837, is a comprehensive liberal arts college located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Our students learn in small classes through a select array of programs that integrate the liberal arts and sciences with pre-professional experience.

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000.