Classroom Speaker



I conduct age-appropriate presentations for all grade levels, from nursery school through graduate classes. My presentations are suited to students in the classroom, student clubs and organizations, religious groups and community organizations.

Some sample audiences include:

  • Nursery School (ages 3-4 years)
  • Kindergarten
  • Elementary Schools (1st through 5th Grades)
  • Middle Schools (6th through 8th Grades)
  • HS Elective Ethics Class
  • Undergraduate and Graduate School classes in Therapeutic Recreation
  • Daisy Troops, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts

My personal circumstances and experiences have afforded me a special view of the capabilities and promise of every individual. My presentations cover:

Understanding diversity
We are all different from one another in so many ways, and yet we are the same in just as many ways.

Dealing with obvious and subtle discrimination
Too many people judge harshly from impressions, not understanding.

How to handle people staring and/or laughing at you
Harsh words and actions can be lessons in life for the insensitive and the sensitive.

Bullying, and protecting those victimized by it
Facing cruelty is the first step to finding new freedom.

Managing travel and recreation challenges
Maneuvering in a world that offers amenities in one size is possible.

Appreciating life-changing injuries/conditions suffered by returning soldiers
Our heroes deserve our understanding and our assistance.

Naturally, the presentation can be customized to the specific needs of my audience, and I do encourage the participants to prepare questions prior to and during a presentation.

Teacher: We are having a guest visitor coming next week who I want to tell you about.

Geri looks a little different from most people — she is shorter than most people her age. She walks with prosthetics — fake legs — because her own legs don't work the way most of ours work. Her arms are also shorter than most people. She will talk about the way she looks — and how she lives with these differences and how other people treat her because she looks different. We have a picture that we can pass so you can get an idea of what she looks like. Geri has a great sense of humor and likes being with children and wants them to know there is nothing wrong with her or other people just because they may not be able to do everything that we can.

Geri says it is ok if we ask questions and suggests that we may come up with questions ahead of time.

I encourage teachers to have their students prepare questions ahead of time since sharing stories by answering questions can be more effective than just a straight lecture.

Below are actual questions students have asked in previous presentations:

  • Do you live alone?/Where do you live?
  • Can you dress yourself in the morning?
  • Is it hard to do daily things?
  • Did you join activities/clubs in school?
  • Why do you use two canes?
  • When you were young and about to go to school, were you nervous?
  • Is it hard for you to travel?
  • Were you ever excluded when you were a kid?
  • Are you married?
  • If you could get a wish, would you give up your medical challenges?
  • Do you like how you are?
  • Did you go to a special school or one like ours?
  • Did people make fun of you?
  • What do you like to be called - handicapped? disabled? physically challenged?

Disabilities Speaker "Just Call Me Geri" © 2012 Geri Mariano, Inspirational Speaker. All rights reserved.