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This website is dedicated to promoting inclusive schooling and exploring positive ways of supporting students with autism and other disabilities. Most of my work involves collaborating with schools to create environments, lessons, and experiences that are inclusive, respectful, and accessible for all learners.

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Speaker Spotlight: Jamie Burke

Posted on April 01, 2014 in Inclusion

I simply cannot express in words how excited we are to bring Jamie Burke back to Chicago. Jamie has presented in our area before but it has been quite a few years, so this is a great opportunity for those who have been wanting to see him but have not yet had the chance.

Jamie is a young man on the autism spectrum who spent the first year of his life without any reliable communication. Using his Lightwriter and typing with the support of his parents and facilitators, Jamie worked hard to learn to type independently and, more recently, to …

Speaker Spotlight: Cheryl Jorgensen

Posted on March 19, 2014 in Inclusion

We are so lucky to have one of the best inclusion advocates in the country coming to Illinois Includes this year. Cheryl Jorgensen was one of the first to engage in work on inclusive high schools, to address the need to provide high quality academic experiences to all, to talk about the need to support students with significant disabilities in inclusive classrooms and to discuss the connections between the Common Core State Standards and inclusive education. Currently, Dr. Jorgensen is …

Speaker Spotlight: Patrick Schwarz

Posted on March 06, 2014 in Inclusion, News

Another not-to-be-missed speaker at the Illinois Includes Conference is Dr. Patrick Schwarz.

When it comes to Patrick Schwarz, I almost have no words (and that is saying a lot for someone like me who seemingly never stops talking). He is an amazing presenter with equal parts heart, soul, and energy. Let’s just say that if you have never seen Patrick speak you are in for a treat and a half. People describe him as dynamic, energizing, and motivational. I see him as all of these things and …

Flashback Friday: Use inclusion as a teaching tool

Posted on February 28, 2014 in Inclusion

This clip is from the bonus footage of You’re Going to Love This Kid DVD and Professional Development Package. The footage includes a series of 10 questions about inclusion answered by administrators, teachers, and parents.

This is a question about “inclusion for all” and it is being answered by John Price, the former principal of John J. Audubon School in Chicago. John is talking about how inclusive schools can provide opportunities for teachers to educate learners about their individual differences. This, Price maintains, makes all students savvier about their abilities, gifts, and their needs. This won’t happen simply by educating students with and without disabilities together, however. As Price points out, teachers have to be explicit in their support of inclusion and their conversations about it.

Flashback Friday: Examine your transportation needs

Posted on February 21, 2014 in Inclusion

Years ago, I worked with a wonderful elementary school. They were committed to making very aspect of the school inclusive, welcoming, and supportive. One issue they had not examined, however, was transportation.

During a visit, I saw a little boy with disabilities skip off an accessible bus, greet his general education classmates as they stood in line on the playground, and enter the building. I asked the principal why he was (a) using specialized transportation and (b) entering the building before his classmates. The principal said, “Um…they all do that.”

By “all”, he meant …

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