Embracing Radical Acceptance: A Journey of Inclusion and Understanding with Dr. Leah Kelley

Home » Embracing Radical Acceptance: A Journey of Inclusion and Understanding with Dr. Leah Kelley

About the Guest(s): Dr. Leah M. Kelley is a storyteller, writer, activist, teacher educator, education consultant, and parent who identifies as neurodivergent and otherwise disabled. She was a K-12 public school teacher for over 25 years and has extensive experience supporting inclusion. Her newly published book, “The Person Who Arrives: Connecting Disability Studies to Educational Practice for Teachers, Parents, and Others,” evolved from her doctoral research, which she completed at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. She is currently working as an adjunct professor in the faculty of education – teacher education program at UBC (University of British Columbia) and guest lecturing colleges and other programs and organizations such as CASE (The Canadian Association for Supported Employment). 

Dr. Kelley’s work focuses on connecting disability studies in education (DSE) to educational practice, strength-based perspectives for supporting neurodiversity, addressing ableism, inclusive practices and pedagogy, and cultivating advocacy. 

Episode Summary: In this episode of the Think Inclusive podcast, Leah Kelley joins Tim Villegas for a profound discussion on the intersections of storytelling, education, and disability advocacy. Right from the onset, the conversation delves into Leah’s unique approach to writing and her pursuit of inclusivity through narratives. The dialogue transitions into exploring the importance of whose story is being told when discussing disability and how storytelling serves as a potent tool for learning and connection.

The episode further delves into Leah’s recently published book, which embodies her dedication to inclusion, her disruptive approach to traditional academic formatting, and her belief in the power of bringing diverse voices to the forefront. Touching on topics ranging from relationships being central to learning to questioning stereotypical notions of disability, Leah challenges conventional thought with her ideas of radical acceptance and the continuous process of arrival in educational and personal contexts.

Transcript: https://otter.ai/u/TmXEj6c9L3__xIMls4ZJ4c9gVKc

Key Takeaways:

  • Storytelling as an Invitational Tool: Leah emphasizes the power of storytelling in altering perspectives and engaging with complex ideas.
  • Whose Story Is It Anyway: The conversation highlights the critical analysis of whose stories are being told, especially in the context of disability.
  • Radical Acceptance and Arrival: Leah explains how radical acceptance of individuals and the concept of continuous arrival are intertwined in educational environments.
  • Disability as Normal: The episode addresses the stigma and language surrounding disability, advocating for acceptance and understanding of disability as a natural human variation.
  • Relational Approach to Education: The exchange reaffirms that nurturing relationships are at the core of inclusion, learning, and advocacy.


Leah Kelley’s Book: https://a.co/d/esG2PWK

Facebook Group – Parenting Autistic Children with Love and Acceptance: https://www.facebook.com/ParentingAutisticChildrenWithLoveAcceptance

30 Days of Autism: https://30daysofautism.blog/

Thanks to our sponsor, the Autism Society: https://autismsociety.org/

MCIE: https://mcie.org/

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