Author name: MCIE

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Fostering Inclusion and Resilience in Education: The Impact of Circle of Friends

In this episode, Tim Villegas welcomes Robyn Stack Reagan, the dynamic CEO of Circle of Friends, for an engaging conversation that dives deep into the organization’s mission and the tangible impact of inclusion in educational settings. This candid discussion unveils the profound effects that fostering genuine friendships and promoting anti-bullying can have on students of all backgrounds, particularly disabled learners and those facing adversity.

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Jeannie Gainsburg Discusses LGBTQ+ Inclusion and Allyship in Education

Tim Villegas interviews Jeannie Gainsburg, an expert in LGBTQ+ inclusion and allyship. They discuss their personal journeys to becoming allies, the importance of inclusive education, and strategies for respectful conversations with people who may have different views on LGBTQ+ issues. Jeannie shares tips for using gender-neutral language and gathering and using pronouns respectfully. They also discuss the need for self-care and sustainable allyship. This episode provides valuable insights and practical advice for anyone interested in promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion.

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Promoting Peer Engagement and AAC in Inclusive Classrooms

Elizabeth Biggs and Erin Turner discuss the importance of fostering friendships and peer relationships in inclusive classrooms. They emphasize the need to prioritize social-emotional learning and provide practical tools for supporting peer engagement. The conversation also touches on the role of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in facilitating communication and connection among students. The Enhancing Peer Network Project, a research initiative focused on building capacity for friendship and social communication development, is highlighted as a valuable resource for educators and families.

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The Power of Reflection: How One School District Transformed Education for All Learners

Kristin Burnette and Christine Bechtel discuss systems change work in inclusive education. They highlight the importance of reflection and action planning in creating sustainable change. They emphasize the need for multiple layers of leadership and collaboration between general education and special education teachers. The guests share stories of students benefiting from inclusive practices and the positive impact on school culture. They also discuss the challenges and time commitment involved in implementing inclusive education. Overall, they stress the importance of creating inclusive communities and preparing students for post-school success.

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Jonathan Cormur: Embracing Neurodiversity in Voice Acting and Beyond

Jonathan Cormur, a voice actor and creator of the Dorktales Storytime podcast, discusses his work and the importance of authentic representation of disability in audio. He shares his experiences in voice acting and theater, highlighting the need for more opportunities for neurodivergent individuals. Jonathan emphasizes the importance of inclusivity and genuine representation in storytelling, urging educators to create safe spaces for students to explore their talents and unique perspectives. He also expresses his dreams for his career and the positive impact of his podcast.

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BONUS: A Quick Message from Tim

Tim Villegas reflects on the year 2023 and discusses what has gone well and what can be improved upon in the coming year. Tim shares his accomplishments, including finishing “Inclusion Stories” and being part of the Inclusion Today group. He expresses a desire to hear more from listeners and invites them to suggest topics for future episodes. Tim expresses gratitude for the support and feedback from listeners. The episode ends with holiday wishes and a happy New Year’s greeting.

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Advocating for Inclusive Education: A Conversation with Arthur Aston

Arthur Aston, host of the Inclusion Think Tank podcast by the New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education (NJCIE), shares his personal story and discusses the importance of inclusive education. He emphasizes the need for students with disabilities to be included in the conversation and highlights the impact of sharing personal experiences. Arthur encourages educators to start somewhere and stay dedicated to the process, as inclusive education takes time. He also mentions the value of hearing from students themselves and the impact of supportive teachers and school nurses.

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Heather Avis from The Lucky Few on Intentional Inclusion

Heather Avis, author and advocate for individuals with Down syndrome, emphasizes the importance of intentional inclusion and the need for a shift in the narrative around disability. She shares personal experiences as a parent and highlights the power of storytelling to change perceptions and create spaces of belonging. Heather also addresses the challenges of advocating for inclusion and the ongoing work needed to dismantle ableism.

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The Intersection of Culturally Responsive Teaching and Inclusive Education

Melissa Winchell’s guest post advocates for the integration of culturally responsive teaching and inclusive education in classrooms to better represent and understand disabled identities, teach about disabilities as socially constructed, and work with students to dismantle ableism, thereby transforming classrooms into genuinely inclusive spaces.

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