A Seat At the Table

When it was proposed that Inclusion From Square One have another publishing date, three months out, it wasn’t clear if all the consequences of returning to publish had been thought through. Tim and Renay were preparing for the end of the year activities in their respective districts while Amanda and Nicole were on the road for their respective directions.

However, Inclusion From Square One wasn’t completed at the end of May. We started in March with an email and haven’t answered half of the questions we posed each other and, perhaps most importantly, we were missing the backbone of Inclusion: Self-advocates.

Self-Advocacy is the reason for Inclusion. Self-advocacy is what education should strive to develop in every student. But it’s not without its challenges. Simply answering the question “What do I need?” is not possibly answered in either the most expected ways or sometimes a graceful way by a self-advocate. 

Self-Advocacy is the reason for Inclusion.

But Self-Advocacy, the art of making decisions and requests for one’s self, is a part of developing independence in a young person. This skill, above all else, is what can make the most independence possible regardless of economic means. 

We have a few self-advocates who have joined us here at the table. And we’ll hear from them this month. We hope to have them return often and other self-advocate voices join in. 

Helping educators understand and sometimes learn how to best listen to figure out the clues to help a student learn. Knowing that the student, the reason an IEP exists, is the reason that educators and families need to listen as hard as they can, even when it is something they might not want to hear. 

There are nuts and bolts this month too. Background information about education and disabilities that we need to lead with because what happens in California is very different than what happens in Georgia, Maine, and Texas for example. And while we are primarily focused on the United States, we know that inclusive practices are being examined worldwide, that the educational rights of people with disabilities are not unique to just one country. 

Renay worked with an interesting group for a few years. Their motto to the students they served was “When you know better, do better.” The expectation was that every day, the students would find something to be better at school. It didn’t have to be an academic improvement, but that was a daily goal for every student with the program. With this in mind, we want to tell our followers and readers simply this: the seats were always there waiting for our self-advocates. We had to find them to take their place and we are grateful they chose to join us.

With this in mind, we want to tell our followers and readers simply this: the seats were always there waiting for our self-advocates.

Inclusion From Square One will publish this July with Self-Advocates and the editorial board. We look forward to working with all of you.

July 1, 2019

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