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Creating an inclusive environment where each student feels safe and supported in an engaging and appropriately challenging environment is rarely an easy feat, yet it is essential to educating the whole child. Regardless of strengths and challenges, each student needs and is deserving of full membership within the classroom and school community. While each student benefits from this inclusive environment, it is critically important and often challenging to ensure it for students with special needs.
In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, we focus on creating inclusive learning environments that develop students at all levels. You'll hear from
- Timothy Shriver, chairman and CEO of Special Olympics. In that capacity, Shriver serves 3.1 million athletes and their families in 175 countries. He has helped transform Special Olympics into a movement that focuses on respect, acceptance, and inclusion for individuals with intellectual disabilities in all corners of the globe.
- Evan Heller, a student who has been involved with and coached Special Olympics for eight years. Heller is also a member of the national Special Olympics Youth Activation Committee and his local Massachusetts State Youth Activation Committee. He is a recent high school graduate and this fall will be a freshman at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he plans to double major in psychology and English.
- Latoya Dean, a doctoral student at the University of North Texas in the Leadership for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders program. She is also a Content Mastery/Helping teacher in Garland, Tex. Dean has worked in varies capacities with people with disabilities, and her current research interests include transitioning students with disabilities into adulthood, parental involvement, and interagency collaboration. She is interning this summer at the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education.
Do you have an Evan or Latoya at your school? What can you do when the school year begins to help create inclusive environments to meet each student's special needs?