The Blind Advantage

The Blind Advantage How Going Blind Made Me a Stronger Principal and How Including Children with Disabilities Made Our School Better for Everyone

Bill Henderson
audio book, MP3 download
Pub. Date: October 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-246-5
Price: $28.00

Add to Cart

Pub. Date: October 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-442-1
paper, 200 Pages
Pub. Date: October 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-109-3
Price: $30.00

Add to Cart

Look Inside the Book

The Blind Advantage provides insight into the challenges, possibilities, and practicalities of including students with disabilities—and into the mind and heart of an inspired and determined leader.


In an age when the word ‘hero’ is overused, Bill Henderson clearly deserves the title. Long before most educators embraced the concept of inclusion, Bill built a school that became a model of equity and excellence. This book offers a rare glimpse of a highly effective school leader. — Thomas Hehir, professor of practice, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Bill Henderson, a pioneer in inclusive urban school leadership, provides an honest, practical, and joyful guide to what it takes to make inclusion work organizationally and instructionally. A must-read for educators and parents! — David P. Riley, executive director, Urban Special Education Leadership Collaborative

Henderson provides an honest, heartfelt account of his experiences coping with vision loss and his leadership in the inclusive education movement. He offers practical advice and guidance for parents and educators. The Blind Advantage should be a required acquisition for public, academic, and special library collections. — Kim Charlson, library director, Braille & Talking Book Library, Perkins School for the Blind

Bill Henderson’s book artfully blends his personal narrative about gradually becoming blind, the counterintuitive effect this had on his work as a principal, and his school’s success in including children with severe special needs in regular classrooms. The heart of Bill’s book is a series of case studies that show how inclusion can be transformational for students—and for the adults who serve them. — Kim Marshall, former Boston Public School principal and editor of the Marshall Memo

Bill uses humor, honesty and sensitivity to narrate the story of the incredible journey of starting an inclusive elementary school. This book is a must read for educators seeking to provide inclusive educational opportunities for students of ALL abilities. — Tricia Lampron, principal, Dr. William W. Henderson Inclusion Elementary School

The Blind Advantage provides a practical and valuable resource on the complexities, challenges, and triumphs of full inclusion. The author’s own personal struggles with blindness and inclusion inform the unique perspective from which he writes and this, in turn, lends to the authenticity of the text. — Kathy-Anne Jordan, Teachers College Record

More Less

About the Author

Bill Henderson was an educator in the Boston Public Schools for thirty-six years. He started in 1973 as a middle-school teacher and later served as a staff trainer and curriculum developer before becoming an assistant principal at a K–8 school. In 1989, Bill was appointed principal of the Patrick O’Hearn Elementary School with a mandate to include students with significant disabilities, and he remained its leader for twenty years. The school gained widespread recognition for inclusion, academic progress, the arts, technology, and family involvement.

Bill earned a BA from Yale University, an MA from Goddard College, and an EdD from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Upon his retirement from the Boston Public Schools in June 2009, the O’Hearn was renamed the Dr. William W. Henderson Inclusion Elementary School. Bill continues to advocate for inclusion through consulting and by presenting at universities and conferences. He also enjoys spending time with friends and family, especially with his grandchildren.

Readers can contact Bill Henderson by e-mail at