About Us...Through words, photos, and artwork, each portfolio becomes a reflection of a unique individual. Picture: Mary Rugg with two young women working on their portfolio as the others in the group look on.
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How do positive relationships develop among family members, providers, and peers? How do we get to know people? 
Do we look for weaknesses or strengths?  Do we take the time to talk with families about their child’s interests, play activities and preferences? Or do we focus our attention on the results of test scores and agency procedures?  Do we ask families and individuals about their hopes and dreams?

At IHDD, our efforts focus on recognizing the assets of each individual and family in order to support their participation in everyday family, school, and community life. Mary E. Rugg, Early Intervention Program Coordinator, and Zolinda Stoneman, Director, at IHDD have been involved in the inclusion of persons with disabilities for more than 30 years.  They share the belief that engaging families and individuals in a positive, strengths-based process from the very beginning can result in A blond girl and a brunette girl playing in a multicolored tent. stronger relationships for both children and adults.
The initial idea around the Take ALook At Me™ Portfolio evolved from the development of a preschool caregiver interview as well as research on attitudes toward inclusion and responses to young children’s questions about disability.  What was found was that there was a strong need for a tool that took the focus off of what a person can’t do and onto what he/she can do.  In this way, teachers, caregivers, service providers and other professionals would then be empowered to support an individual based on an understanding of the strengths and interests of that person, his/her culture, community and resources.  From this concept emerged two versions of the portfolio--an Early Childhood version intended for children ages 0-6 and their families, and a School-Age & Adult version for older children, teens and adults to encourage and promote self-discovery and determination.  Also, the portfolio has been translated into various language including Spanish, French, Korean and Vietnamese.

Examples of PortfoliosThrough using words, photos and other artwork, each portfolio becomes a reflection of a unique individual.  In this way, we hope to engage individuals and families in a positive process which enhances and supports cultural awareness, literacy, empowerment and communication.  Care providers, advocates, parents, teachers, foster care providers, doctors, therapists and family attorneys have all used the portfolio to gain a window into the true strengths of an individual and/or family and daily routines of a child in order to better understand them based on their unique strengths and interests.

Learn more about our current collaborative projects or view samples of completed portfolios.


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Institute on Human Development and Disability (IHDD)
University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities in Research, Education, and Service (UCEDD)
Unit of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences
University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602-4806
706-542-3457 * contact@ihdd.uga.edu

www.takealookatmeportfolio.com now www.strengthsbased.com © 2007