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ESE548 : The Class : Carrot Head

Module 5: Carrot Head - No Size Fits All


In this module, you will meet a lovable clownish comedian named Parsnip, who wants nothing more than to help special needs children by discovering services in the community. He is tireless in his efforts, and you will follow his adventures and misadventures as he seeks to discover new information about the following course objectives:

10. Demonstrate knowledge of career and vocational issues.
11. Knowledge of community and agency resources.
15. Awareness of technology role, including assistive technology, in the special education process.

Parsnip doesn't have a mean bone in his body, but he has one major problem. He takes everything very literally, to a fault, in fact. For example, there was the time when Parsnip put his hand in his mouth to check if everything was there when old Elmer Hibbard asked him, "Cat got your tongue?"

And then, another time, he rushed out to buy a paintbrush and a bucket of paint when his good friend Ratso said that to celebrate their good fortune, they should go out and "paint the town red."

Parsnip was just like this. But he also had a heart of gold, and his deepest wish was to help special needs children grow into fine, strong adults who would make great contributions to our society. So, follow along as he goes from place to place, on the advice of others, doing the best he can to find services to help his beloved children. And hopefully you, in your own searches, won't have nearly the problems he encounters! Vaya con dios!

The Adventure:

Everyone in Turkey Gulch knows and loves red-headed Parsnip. Each day is an adventure for him, as he meets people and looks for clues in his search. So much fun, so much confusion, so much work! The special needs children he met in the Turkey Trot School were his friends, and they all loved him because he was silly and made them laugh. He had compassion for them because he knew they had their own wonderful gifts and talents even if they struggled with some things in school. In a nutshell, he knew that they would have to leave the nest when they were a little older, and he wanted them to be ready to go into rewarding careers as soon as they were able. But he also knew that some careers and vocations would be better than others, and set out to find the best options to tell them about.

He didn't know where to start, but as he walked down Applecart Lane, he saw Bill E. Ruben, the local policeman. When Parsnip told Bill what he wanted, Bill said, "There's just not much out there, Parsnip. Finding help would be looking for a needle in a haystack. But good luck to you !"

"A-hah!" said Parsnip. "A needle in a haystack! A clue!"

And he ran down the road, east of town, to the Smith's farm. Mrs. Smith wiped the flour from her hands as she smiled sweetly at Parsnip and said, "Sure you can dig some hay. Are you looking for something special?"

Parsnip didn't wait to answer, but ran off to the barnyard and the hay.
He knew if he could find the needle, he would have the clue he needed to get help. Farmer Joe Smith saw Parsnip, and came over to get a closer look. "What are you looking for?" he asked.

Parsnip explained his mission, and said that he was trying to find the needle in the haystack. Joe chuckled, as he said, "No, no, no! Are you pulling my leg?"

Parsnip looked down to see his hands at his own side. "No."

Joe went on, "A 'needle in a haystack' is just a figure of speech that means you will have a tough time finding the information you are looking for. There's no needle in there!

Why don't you try to talk to Bob Watson at the Acme Employment Agency? He's got a lot of information and he's also a real team player! Good luck, now!"

Parsnip found that there was certain symmetry to what Joe was saying, and started back to town to find this new person who just may hold his missing link. As he walked closer to the Employment Agency, he noticed a group of men and women playing softball at the municipal field. Joe's words, "He's a real team player," rang in his ears. And here, at the field, was a team, wasn't it? Maybe Bob Watson was playing on this team!

Parsnip walked right up to the batter and asked for Bob. He wanted to get the ball rolling with his project as soon as he could. He grabbed his notebook and started jotting down the things Bob told the players to do.

"Keep your eye on the ball,"
"Put your shoulder to the wheel and push, buddy."
"Dig deeper! Dig, dig, dig!"
"Give it all you've got"
"Keep your nose to the grindstone."
"Get off the plate."
"Dive for it!"
"Knock him out of the park!"

Parsnip became so confused he assumed the pretzel position, and has been sitting there stumped, midway between earh and sky, ever since.

World of Work and the Rehab Act (Section 504)

Apparently, personnel in schools and businesses can be as confused as anyone. Despite laws to help hire those with disabilities, the 1990's success rate of hiring people with disabilities was about 40%. As Turnbull points out in the text, one of the ways we help or hurt youngsters is our ability to prepare them for the world of work.

This is not a simple issue. There are many factors that help and hurt employment chances. See if you can be better prepared to help students be ready for meaningful employment and successful transition into the adult community through your introduction to this part of the course.


This module is divided into 4 topics. To complete this Module successfully, please complete the readings and assignments for your persona.

  1. Linear Lou
  2. Pensive Pat
  3. Busy BJ
  4. Caring Kit

Once you have completed this module you should:

Go on to Module 6: Critic's Corner - Two Ears Up
Go back to Introduction to Exceptional Children

E-mail J'Anne Affeld at

Course developed by J'Anne & Martha Affeld


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