Create a classroom environment where students feel safe making mistakes, taking risks and trying new things.

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.


Speaker spotlight: Chris Kliewer

Posted on April 20, 2015 in Inclusion

Chris Kliewer FII met Chris Kliewer about 15 years ago at an inclusion conference. I wandered into a workshop he was giving on literacy and Down Syndrome and instantly became a fan. I continue to follow his work closely and I can say with absolutely certainty that Chris has not published a piece I have not read. This is not because he has not written a lot (he is a writing machine); it is because his work is so important that I wouldn’t dare miss a word.

Chris is a professor at the University of Northern Iowa. A former early childhood special education teacher, Chris is arguably the most visible qualitative researcher studying issues of early childhood special education, literacy development and inclusion. His studies have appeared in prominent education journals including Exceptional Children, JASH, Disability & Society, Teachers College Record, Reading & Writing Quarterly and Journal of Disability Policy Studies.

Chris has shaped the way I understand Down syndrome, the way I see literacy and the way I think about including young children. In fact, I was inspired to write my book, A Land We Can Share, after reading and rereading Chris’s book, Schooling Children with Down Syndrome. Want to be inspired by Chris? If you are coming to Illinois Includes, you will have a chance to do just that. Chris is speaking on the second day of the conference and will be talking about young children and the literate community. If you are interested in inclusive education, teaching literacy or early childhood education, be sure to circle his sessions on your conference program!

Schooling Children With Down Syndrome: Toward an Understanding of Possibility
Schooling Children With Down Syndrome: Toward an Understanding of Possibility

This volume explores Down syndrome disability in the cultural context of the school. The author traces the history of community banishment on people with Down syndrome. Based on fieldwork, and using examples, the author describes school contexts currently resisting traditions of segregation.

Seeing All Kids as Readers: A New Vision for Literacy in the Inclusive Early Childhood Classroom
Seeing All Kids as Readers: A New Vision for Literacy in the Inclusive Early Childhood Classroom

For young children with moderate to severe disabilities, developing literacy skills can lead to more active and fulfilling membership in society. This motivating, forward-thinking book will help educators see all their students as literate and use an innovative social model of literacy to enrich the skills of children with and without disabilities. Relating in-depth stories from hundreds of hours spent observing inclusive preschool classrooms, literacy researcher Christopher Kliewer inspires readers to

  • view literacy as more than direct interaction with alphabetic text
  • use dynamic, imaginative methods—dramatic play, drawing, painting, dance, movement—to help students with disabilities acquire useful literacy skills
  • encourage students with and without disabilities to collaborate on literacy-building activities throughout the day
  • incorporate the interests, imaginations, and histories of students with disabilities in classroom routines and lessons

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