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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.


A soundtrack for inclusion?

Posted on September 10, 2012 in Inclusion, News

Some of you know that I started running last year. For this reason, I am constantly changing up my iPod playlist to find inspiring music that will keep me motivated and energized. Well, one of the things that I have noticed lately is that many of these inspiring songs remind me of my work in inclusive schools. So, I thought I would share the top 5 inclusion-related songs I am currently enjoying. I cannot tell a lie so I will disclose that I wanted to write this post not only because I think music can move people to create, move, and act, but also because I so loved listening to music countdowns as a kid that I wanted my own moment of being Casey Kasem! In order, they are:

5. Make This Place Your Home by Phillip Phillips

Ok, so I really did get addicted to this song during the Summer Olympics, but the more I listened to it over the summer, the more I ended up loving its message. The song (to me) is as much about accomplishment as it is about being welcome.

4. I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor

This one is necessary to have on hand for bad IEP meetings, not-so-hot days in the classroom, and the like. It is a nice one for co-teachers to sing to each other :)

3. Welcome to Wherever You Are by Bon Jovi

I wish I knew the story behind this song because it really sounds like it was written as a teaching tool for inclusive classrooms! It is really sweet.

2. Good Life by OneRepublic

This song always motivates me. Some people can’t run to slower songs like this one, but I am such a slow runner, every song works for me—LOL! It always puts me in a good mood. There is one semi-“bad” word in the song, otherwise it would be perfect to play in the classroom.

1. Change Your Mind by Sister Hazel

I just love this song! I started listening to it as I was trying to run a mile and then 3 miles and then 5 miles and so on. The more I listened, however, the more I became enchanted by the bigger message of the song which is to change your life by changing the way you think. The same goes for changing the school, the classroom and so on.

What would be on your inclusive schooling soundtrack? Please share! I am always looking for great music to use and pass on to others.


  1. From Sara on 10 Sep 2012

    My 5 songs (not for running per se, but for inclusion) in no particular order:
    1. One Day by Matisyahu
    2. Be by Common
    3. One Love by Bob Marley
    4. Rainbow Connection by Weezer ft. Hayley Williams
    5. Hey World (Remote Control Version) by Michael Franti & Spearhead

  2. From Mary Komperda on 10 Sep 2012

    Here are my suggestions:
    1. Everybody’s trying by Poi Dog Pondering
    2. Upside Down by Jack Johnson
    3. Get up Stand up by Bob Marley and the Wailers
    4. Love Train by Keb’ Mo’
    5. Learning to Fly by Tom Petty
    6. Crazy by Gnarls Barkley (even though I don’t like the term).

  3. From Gary Perdue on 10 Sep 2012

    You are truly missing a lot by running with music, assuming you are running outside. The natural sounds are so beautiful. jm2cw Try it might like it.

  4. From Stacy on 10 Sep 2012

    I love all of the suggestions so far. I would add Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benetar for IEP meeting prep ;)

  5. From Julie from PEAK Parent Center on 10 Sep 2012

    When my oldest son was going through transition and we had a “few” meetings where things got a little heated. He and I would always crack up Going Down in Blaze of Glory from Bon Jovi before going into the meetings. It worked! :)

  6. From Cindy on 10 Sep 2012

    1. Some Kind of Wonderful – The Drifters
    2. I’ll Be There – Jackson 5
    3. Respect – Aretha Franklin
    4. Like A Rock – Bob Seger

  7. From Victoria on 10 Sep 2012

    Nobody’s Perfect – Jessie J

  8. From Lon Licht on 10 Sep 2012

    Wonder by Natalie Merchant

    Some of the lyrics: I’m a challenge to your balance

    I’m over your heads

    How I confound you and astound you

  9. From Eileen Yoshina on 10 Sep 2012

    1. Welcome Table–traditional
    2. Redemption Song-Bob Marley
    (especially the lyric “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds”
    3. Revolution–Tracy Chapman
    4. The Times They are a Changin –we like the Nina Simone version
    5. I Believe in Love–Indigo Girls

  10. From Kay on 11 Sep 2012

    And love the song on this youtube video, ““We’re All in This Together ”

  11. From Lauri on 12 Sep 2012

    Love this so much.

    1.Change is gonna come. Norah Jones/J. Ralph
    2.All You Need is Love . From Across the Universe Soundtrack
    3.We’re Going to Be Friends, White Stripes ASL by D-PAN
    4. U Smile . Justin Bieber ( I know, but listen, it has the sweetest feeling)
    5. Wonderful World.. James Morrison ( after an IEP meeting:)

    6. Options – Gomezx

  12. From Vicki on 12 Sep 2012

    The one that’s gotten our family through a lot:
    3 little Birds – Bob Marley
    I also love these:
    Stand – Rascal Flatts
    Smile – Uncle Kracker
    Dreams – Van Halen
    Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey

  13. From Ben on 24 Sep 2012

    I like this idea. Playlists are a great way to become motivated and remember a theme. I wrote about creating a playlist to reinforce comprehension in children who may have difficulties learning :

  14. From Paula Kluth on 2 Oct 2012

    love them all– off to add to my iPod!

  15. From Carolyn Luckette on 23 Jul 2016

    I’m surprised, I don’t see a Steven Tyler song on here like, “dream on”