Shabby Miss Jenn

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Inclusion Works

The Arc of Texas just sponsored their 18th annual Inclusion Works Conference this past weekend. As a teacher, I was always interested in attending, but it never worked into my schedule well. As a parent, I was determined to make it there this year. I am so glad I made the effort to arrange life to make it happen. It's not easy coordinating Wade's therapy and school with Curtis' schedule. Thankfully my mother-in-law was able to help us out as well.

My dear friend Kelly and I headed to Austin Wednesday afternoon.  There was a brief introductory session Wednesday evening, and the conference ended late morning on Saturday.  I honestly didn't know what to expect over those few days.  All I knew was that I wanted to get my hands on any information that could help build my cause and support my opinions on inclusive classrooms and communities for people with disabilities.  In my heart, I know what's right.  EVERYONE deserves to be included.  It's a basic human right.  But for some reason, when you have a disability, you have to "earn" your way "in".  When I'm surrounded by people who think Wade and others have to work harder to be included, I start to falter.  While my heart is crying because I *know* I'm right, my brain starts playing tricks on me as their words invade my beliefs.  My biggest hope was that over the course of the conference I would meet people passionate about inclusion who could help guide me when I felt beat down in this fight.  Little did I know, not only would these facilitators give me amazing information, but they would actually even challenge some of my thoughts that I believed were okay.  It's funny how you can be going along thinking you're pretty strong in your beliefs, and then someone can come along and say something that completely rocks your world.  I think it's important to be challenged though.  It keeps me thinking and encourages me to continue the fight for inclusion.

Over my next few posts, I'll share some of things I took away from this amazing conference.  I hope you'll be able to gain some information on inclusion from my upcoming posts.  If you have any questions, or need any resources, let me know.  I'll do my best to help.  Until then, check out this cool website:  The I am Norm campaign is run by a group of young people from across the country to help promote inclusive practices in schools and our community.  Two members of the campaign came and presented Wednesday evening.  I was in awe at how comfortable these two young people were in front of a few hundred adults.  It was proof to me that one voice, no matter the age, can make a huge difference.  Check it out and see how you can get involved.  You can also join them on Facebook.


jocalyn said...

thanks for sharing. i will definitely be checking back to see more of your posts!

kendall had her evaluation monday...

and so it begins for our family.

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