Tag Archives: inclusion

My Baby Soapbox

img_online-early-childhood-education-degrees[1]I am having a hard time putting words to the thoughts I am having today. There are so many parts of the story I am about to tell that need addressing, and so much at stake in the message.

I was on the phone the other day with a friend of mine I have had all of my life. He and his wife have a beautiful baby boy, let’s call him Brian. Brian was born with disabilities, specifically, he has WAGR syndrome. It is something that very few people ever need to find out more about, as so few people are born with the specific genetic traits. WAGR contributes such a small part to this story that I am not going to spend my time focusing on that aspect.

Brian is a happy, quickly developing little man, who is making progress every day. He is full of smiles, laughter, and love for those around him, and a true pleasure to be with. All of the things we look for in children of this age, he is doing well at. Eating on his own, learning to get more of his lunch in his mouth than on the walls or floor, getting around from place to place of his own free will, interacting with people, expressing himself, exploring and becoming more independent and just generally being a two year old kid.

There are a couple things that he has been working on developing, that with physical and occupational therapy as well as some support for his visual impairment, he is making great gains, and using his skills across his environments consistently well. He seems to like putting things in his mouth quite a bit, but at this age, everybody’s doing it!! My guess is that it is one more way for him to experience his world, with his vision limited a bit more than most his age.

He is a part of a beautiful family and is surrounded by uncles, aunts, grandmas, grandpas and family friends. He lives in a lovely neighborhood, where he has made friends with other little people his age, and spends his days as any two year old does, at school while mom and dad go to work, and busy at play dates and being a beautifully integral part of his family and community the rest of the time.

Sounds great, right? Well…that is where I need to get on my baby soapbox today. Continue reading

How I Spent Inclusive Schools Week!

Inclusive Schools Week 2012

Inclusive Schools Week 2012

This week was Inclusive Schools Week. It is an annual event sponsored by the Inclusive Schools Network (ISN) which is held each year during the first week in December. Since 2001, Inclusive Schools Week has celebrated how different districts and schools have made progress in

“providing a supportive and quality education to an increasingly diverse student population, including students who are marginalized due to disability, gender, socio-economic status, cultural heritage, language preference and other factors.”

It is also a time for educators, students and parents to plan next steps, to realize the work to be done, and ensure continuous improvement to successfully educate all children.

The national TASH conference also was held this past week, but unlike like many of my colleagues, I was unable to attend this year. I am putting it high on my “to-do” list of things to do in the upcoming year because that group, and in particular that conference, is one of the best places to be with advocates and professionals whom are doing this stuff well and making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. It is always held the first week of December as well, and I highly recommend anyone attending the conference and getting involved with that organization. I have been a member of TASH for years, and have presented at as well as attended many of their national conferences. That group never ceases to inspire me.

Project from Terman Middle School, Palo Alto from Inclusive Schools week 2011

Project from Terman Middle School, Palo Alto, CA, from Inclusive Schools week 2011

What I did do this week is a presentation at Palo Alto’s Inclusive Schools Week kick-off event, a precursor for activities that followed every day this week within their schools. The ISN topic this year that they put forward was “Social Inclusion: Not Just a Seat in the Class”. Continue reading

PART THREE: A Detailed look at the Paraprofessional Job-Embedded Curriculum…the last, but NOT least!! AND, don’t forget….the GIVEAWAY!

Do yourself a favor and check out my previous posts that gave an overview and further details about this fabulous curriculum that you must have!! I have spent a lot of my blog time focused on this curriculum for a reason. It is the perfect time of the year to be thinking about paraprofessional training, and even more appropriate to think about how to do it in your own schools, with your own teams, engaging in conversation about your own students in a staff development format that is grounded in research and what we know about adult and student learning!

In this final post about the curriculum, I will describe the remaining two instructional parts and the units that comprise them. Please don’t forget to comment or ask questions, as you will be entered into the drawing to receive a free copy of the curriculum! All comments and questions from this post, as well as any from the first two posts will be entered for the drawing, and will be awarded next week!

The curriculum is divided into the following four instructional parts, with a total of seven instructional units:

Overview of the four instructional parts of the curriculum and the seven individual units

Overview of the four instructional parts of the curriculum and the seven individual units

The first two parts were described here. The parts that I would like to describe today are units three through seven. These five units are especially useful in schools for paraprofessional training. They comprise the instructional and academic areas, as well as promote understanding of behavior and relationships of the students they support. While the first two units concentrate on laying groundwork for paraprofessionals to understand their roles in inclusive settings, the five units I will describe today offer skill development and tools for paraprofessionals to use every day in their work with students. Continue reading

PART TWO: A Detailed Look at the Paraprofessional Job-Embedded Curriculum, and don’t forget …the GIVEAWAY!

In my introductory post, I gave an overview of why you need this curriculum. In my last post, I detailed a few more specifics about how we put it together for your successful use.

In this post, and the next one, I will go over the four instructional parts that make up the curriculum in greater detail, and hopefully answer some questions about how to individualize it to your specific needs at your school. Please don’t forget to comment, as you will be entered into the drawing to receive a copy I am giving away at the end of my next post! Continue reading

PART ONE: A Detailed Look at the Paraprofessional Job-Embedded Curriculum, and a GIVEAWAY!

My last post introduced you to this valuable curriculum resource. As I said in that post, the timing of taking a closer look at paraprofessional staff development is purposeful at this point of the year. When reviewing IEPs and writing new ones for next year, we look forward to how students will be supported within general education successfully. Paraprofessionals are a piece of that puzzle that cannot and should not be overlooked or under-acknowledged. I do not believe everyone needs a paraprofessional to be successful in general education classrooms and settings, but when individual needs warrant it, then those paraprofessionals must be trained to do their jobs well. Continue reading

An Introduction to a Tool You Must Have! Supporting Students With Disabilities in Inclusive Schools: A Curriculum for Job-Embedded Paraprofessional Development

Lately I have been working with a number of parents and schools during this busy time of year, when IEPs are needing to be revisited and plans for next year put in place for kids with disabilities (take a minute to read my posts about IEPs for some ideas of where to begin and important things to think about during this very necessary, and hopefully meaningful, process).

During the conversations I have been having lately, it dawned on me that when people are planning for next year and thinking about what did or didn’t work well this year, the use of paraprofessionals to support kids with disabilities is a central issue that can make or break a student’s success. IEPs that include paraprofessionals must consider quality professional development and the time to do that development effectively for paraprofessionals. Now is the time to start thinking about how that can look, and planning when it will happen. I have a great resource to offer. Continue reading

Review of “You’re Going to Love This Kid!” A Professional Development Package for Teaching Students with Autism in the Inclusive Classroom by Dr. Paula Kluth!

I have the distinct pleasure of reviewing and sharing my thoughts about my esteemed colleague and friend Dr. Paula Kluth’s latest work with Landlocked Films and Brookes Publishing. Paula has just released a DVD and Professional Development Package, based on her best-selling book, You’re Going to Love This Kid! .

For years, I have been giving this book to parents and school professionals as the go-to book for understanding how to create inclusive classrooms, especially for students that are on the autism spectrum. I have given it as teacher gifts, as food for thought, and as a reference that is like no other in book form….it has been the closest thing to being with Paula in a personal conversation about how it can look for kids….until now. Continue reading