Inclusion Is Not Geography: Mapping Out Inclusion in the Minds of Others

How can staff and families know if children and adults with disabilities and special learning needs are truly included? Our efforts thus far have taught us that simply placing people along side one another does not result in the development of satisfying, reciprocal, lifelong relationships (that is, inclusive communities). What is the missing element in the inclusion puzzle? The MINDS of others! Inclusion is an attitude based on knowledge and experience that exists in the MINDS of those around the child or adult with disabilities or special learning needs. This presentation will help teams identify what information needs to be shared, who needs to know, and how to share information with others, including the child or adult with autism spectrum disorders or other special learning needs. Participants will learn techniques for talking about children and adults to children of all ages, to staff in each environment, as well as supportive ideas to overcome reluctance to share information. The presentation will emphasize shifting attitudes and creating relationships by providing important, respectful, accurate and individualized information to everyone who needs to know while abiding by laws and rules of confidentiality.