An Inclusion Collaboration

Changing Perspectives is excited to announce a collaborative project with our friends at Kids Included Together (KIT)! This year, to celebrate Inclusive Schools Week, happening nationwide December 3-7, we have worked with KIT to produce an Inclusive Schools Week Activity Guide.

The impetus for this project came about when our Executive Director Sam Drazin and KIT CEO Torrie Dunlap connected last year and learned that KIT and CP have similar missions – working to make our communities and our schools more inclusive of children of all abilities. CP’s training and professional development work is primarily in schools and with KIT’s new Inclusive Schools initiative, Torrie and Sam thought this would be a perfect opportunity to put the two organizations’ collective minds together and create an inclusion toolkit for educators.

Each December, the Inclusive Schools Network promotes Inclusive Schools Week to celebrate the progress that our public schools have made in being more inclusive of students with disabilities (and other marginalized identities) and also to encourage dialogue that will continue to move the needle forward on inclusion.

This year, Changing Perspectives and KIT are participating in ISW by providing an Activity Guide as a free resource for teachers and administrators. This Activity Guide has a mini-lesson plan for each day of the week, centered around a daily theme. Included in the plans and related to each theme are professional development resources for teachers, suggested student and school-wide activities, informal learning assessment questions, and assorted additional inclusion resources.

We’ve tried to make the Activity Guide easy-to-use and provide resources that are short and to the point – we know how valuable a teacher’s time is. The great thing is that teachers can use as many or as few of the tools as they want! If they’re looking for one great group activity to do with a Best Buddies or Unified Theater club or if they think their school would embrace a week of school-wide activities like Mix-It-Up Lunches and Unique Hat Day – we’ve got all those options covered!

The Inclusive Schools Week Activity Guide is accessible to anyone and everyone on KIT’s Online Learning Center. You don’t need to create an account to download the guide but we hope you’ll check out the Free Inclusion Resources and sign up for a free trial while you’re there so you can see the plethora of additional resources available.

We encourage everyone to get their school or their child’s school involved in Inclusive Schools Week and we want to thank KIT for being such a fantastic partner in inclusion!

Click here to access the Inclusive Schools Week Activity Guide

November 19th, 2018|

How—and—Why to Listen Until Someone Feels Heard

Many people who choose careers in medicine or at nonprofits are intrinsically motivated to serve others. And yet most of us haven’t received any training to hone our ability to empathize; we just do our best. If we expect every healthcare professional to empathize with every patient, we must provide training. Working in hospitals is tremendously stressful: Doctors-in-training have to learn to work on a team, document their actions extensively, take on sleep-depriving schedules, and begin to take responsibility for the health of their patients. They may see death for the first time. They must learn to stand in the midst of suffering, field questions they don’t know the answers to, and parse medical jargon. As they become more senior, they may travel back and forth from outpatient to inpatient settings. They may miss their kid’s soccer game to comfort a patient who is contemplating their own mortality. Amidst all of this, studies show that physician empathy levels decline throughout training, and rise again only later in a doctor’s career. Read more from SSIR (Stanford Social Innovation Review).

November 7th, 2018|

Virtual World Provides Haven For Those With Special Needs

University of California, Irvine anthropology professor Tom Boellstorff studied LaScala and hundreds of other players with disabilities in his research into how they use Second Life for social interaction that often escapes them in non-virtual settings. Boellstorff started playing in 2004 under the avatar Tom Bukowski. He’d become interested in studying new virtual worlds with the same methods he used in the field as an anthropologist observing gay and lesbian culture in Indonesia. Boellstorff found that physical world research techniques transferred to the virtual one, including participant-observation, a method used by cultural anthropologists. Read more on DisabilityScoop.

A child participates in an applied behavior analysis session. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

October 24th, 2018|

‘Social Robots’ Show Promise As Autism Intervention

Children with autism could see meaningful social skills gains from working with an interactive robot at home, researchers say.

study published this month in the journal Science Robotics found that kids on the spectrum who spent just 30 minutes a day with the so-called social robots made significant improvements in eye contact and social behaviors.

“The children showed improved performance across the board,” said Brian Scassellati, a professor of computer science at Yale University who led the study. “This was more than we had hoped; not only did the children and parents still enjoy working with the robot after a month, but the children were showing improvements that persisted even when the robots were not around.” Read more from Disability Scoop.

September 11th, 2018|

When Schools Meet Trauma With Understanding, Not Discipline

If you know anything about New Orleans public schools, you probably know this: Hurricane Katrina wiped them out and almost all the schools became privately run charters.

Many of those schools subscribed to the no excuses discipline model — the idea that if you crack down on slight misbehavior, you can prevent bigger issues from erupting.

That was also true of Crocker College Prep, an elementary school in New Orleans. It had strict rules about everything. Students had to sit up straight at their desks, eyes tracking the speaker. They had to walk the halls in silence and even wear the right kind of socks. Students who broke these rules, or acted out in other ways, were punished. Read more from Mindshift

Nicole Boykins is principal at Crocker College Prep in New Orleans. The pre-K through eighth grade school is one of five schools in a program to better serve children who’ve been exposed to trauma.

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August 29th, 2018|

What if Schools Focused on Improving Relationships Rather than Test Scores?

University of Georgia education professor Peter Smagorinsky wrote a piece last year about a promising young teacher who chose to leave education. She has now returned to the classroom but in a different Georgia district.
In this column, Smagorinsky explains how her new district, with a focus on enhancing relationships rather than test scores, has revitalized her enthusiasm for teaching.

By Peter Smagorinsky

A year ago I wrote a Get Schooled essay about an outstanding early-career high school English teacher in Georgia who had become so frustrated with testing and scripted curricula that she decided to leave the profession. She had been a participant in a study I am doing of the career development of teachers, with interviews each semester since 2010, when she was still at UGA education major. Read more from AJC.

August 8th, 2018|

The Power of Empathy

Often discussed as something that we might do (or perhaps should do) to be a good person, feeling empathetic helps us make connections with others and understand them better. It’s different from having sympathy for someone, which means to look at their suffering from the outside and feel sorry or sad for them. Empathy is feeling someone else’s pain or seeing through their eyes. It’s also a precursor to compassion, which is empathy in action—a commitment to doing something that relieves someone else’s suffering. Read more from Edutopia.

July 16th, 2018|

Inclusion and Acceptance are the Most Effective Autism “Therapies”

The constant need to label and pathologize everything Autistics do is part of what makes people see them and treat them as less than human, and this is a dangerous precedent to set.

I remember when my son was first diagnosed, and a old friend came to visit. I had snacks laid out for my son as I usually did, and he took a cracker, pepper slice, or carrot stick here and there. She said “he eats really well”. I said “Yes, his therapists say he likes to ‘graze’”. She looked at me and said, “Graze? Wow, they really like to give a crazy word to everything he does, don’t they? My niece does the same and no one has ever thought to compare her to a cow!” Read more from Medium. 

June 7th, 2018|

How Does Empathy Work? A Writer Explores the Science and Its Applications

Depending on your point of view, Cris Beam’s “I Feel You: The Surprising Power of Extreme Empathy” might seem either laughably behind the times or naïvely, maybe even willfully, ahead — so far beyond our collective horizon as to be pretty darned invisible. After all, ours is an age when the president is more concerned with building walls than feeding and educating poor kids, Congress is polarized to the point of paralysis and just about everyone else is seemingly focused on getting theirs first. We’ve become a nation of hard cases, armed to the teeth, with fury battling cynicism for primacy as the default emotion. In this world, a book with a cover featuring one bonsai tree leaning lovingly toward another does not appear likely to find much of a place. And yet here is Beam passionately asserting that “the pendulum is swinging back toward feeling, back toward love and the communal. Back toward empathy.” Read more from The New York Times.

May 9th, 2018|

Is Your Child a Phone ‘Addict?’

On the heels of two large Apple investors urging the company to address kids’ phone addiction, many parents may be wondering: How do I know if my child is addicted to his or her smartphone? And how can I prevent problematic overuse? There are reasons for concern. A 2016 survey from Common Sense Media found that half of teenagers felt addicted to their devices, and 78 percent checked their devices at least hourly. Seventy-two percent of teens felt pressured to respond immediately to texts, notifications and social media messaging. Read more from The New York Times.

April 16th, 2018|