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One Simple Act Completely Transformed This Special Education Class

In November, special education teacher Chris Ulmer shared a Facebook video showing how he begins his day by complimenting his students at Mainspring Academy (formerly Keystone Academy) in Jacksonville, Florida. As you may already know, the clip blew up on the Internet, with more than 2 million views. While he’s more than pleased with the recognition that clip received, he feels it didn’t show just how beneficial a positive learning environment can be for the kids in his class.

In addition to praising his pupils, Ulmer has them go around the room complimenting each another:

A Beautiful PlaceThe world is a more beautiful place because you are alive.This video documents what would happen in our society if we would just be kind to one another.

Posted by Special Books by Special Kids on Monday, February 29, 2016


The simple act of kindness has caused his students’ confidence levels to skyrocket — both in the classroom and at home.

“The children have progressed due to intentional positivity and mindfulness,” Ulmer told The Mighty. “Their socialization has increased exponentially and each child now understands the value of being a member of a community.”

“Before I verbalize anything in my classroom I ask myself, ‘Will this add positive or negative energy to the atmosphere?’” Ulmer added. “Many individuals assume a human with a diagnosis cannot understand them. I suggest we all presume competence and act accordingly. I have witnessed the benefits of presuming competence firsthand for the last three years.”

“It is our responsibility as adults, as parents, as teachers, to shape reality in a positive way, so that children learn to build each other up,” Ulmer says in the video above. “If we model for our youth the correct avenues for our energy and attention, we will have a positive society that collaborates together.”

In 2014 Ulmer launched “Special Books by Special Kids,” a program that allows the students in his class to publish their stories.

Watch the video above and be sure to check out the Facebook page for Special Books by Special Kids.