Lauren Beller
Peter O’Halloran
PA Education for All Coalition
Changing the Cultural Context
Within Schools
Inclusive Education
Empowerment Project (IEEP)
Students &
What we believe…
ALL children should be
successfully educated
together in their
neighborhood schools
within the
general education
What we do…
Parents and
Self Advocates
Grant Objectives
 Partnerships for
 Parent Consultant
Self Advocate
 Inclusion Committees
 Cultural Brokers
Parent Consultant Network
Parent Consultant = Experts
•parents of children who receive special
education services.
•committed to inclusive education for ALL
•strengthened by the collective wisdom of
parents who have “been there.”
•supported by experts who are committed to
uplifting the voice of parents.
•compensated for their time and expertise.
Self-Advocate Network
 Three Self-Advocate
 Five Self-Advocates
 In process of planning
second cohort
 Presentations in partner
school districts
Keeping PEAC Strong
"Inclusion is not a strategy to help people fit into the
systems and structures which exist in our societies; it is
about transforming those systems and structures to
make it better for everyone. Inclusion is about creating
a better world for everyone." Diane Richler, President,
Inclusion International
Elementary School
 Regular classes
 Kindergarten chairs
 Walking in the halls
 Singled out by teachers
for not working hard
 Friends’ parents
Middle School
 Met my two best friends
 Last minute school
 Project about bullying
 Sled hockey
Bullying got bad
Wrist cramps started
Library study hall, not
Band room steps
Swamp field trip
High School
 Photography Class
 Drama Class
 Adapted Gym Class
 Elevator
 Nursery School Program
 Severe bullying
 Surgery
 Physics field trip
Growing Up in the Summers
 Went to Day Camp for 9 or 10 Summers
 Archery, go-karts, theater, culinary arts,
visual arts, swimming, Mini-Camp, etc
 Went to Sleep-Away Arts camp for 5
 Drums, theater, sketch comedy, vocals,
visual arts, swimming, CIT
 I finally fit in!
 Received
 Biology class
Double major
Strong student
Lots of friends
A career-defining
student job
Went to Israel
 Diagnosed with learning
disorders and ADHD
 Activist and advocate
 Choirs
 Tutoring
 Play drums and piano
 Philly Improv Theater
 Starting Business
 Live independently
 Lots of friends
 My birds Eli and Popcorn
The amount of inclusion should be increased
and/or decreased according to Robert’s ability to
self-regulate, control disruptive behaviors, and
based on his areas of competency. In addition to
behavioral regulation, Robert will need to
continue to improve his general verbal ability and
processing of language in order to learn
effectively within the fast pace, language
intensive mainstream classroom
Robert’s Re-evaluation by School District, 2nd grade
Why Inclusion?
 Social reasons
- Friendships
- No one teaches students more about social skills than
his typical peers
 Access to regular education curriculum
 Content and classroom skills
 Behaviorally – Students copy good – and bad – behavior.
Much inappropriate behavior was “learned” in more
restrictive placements, making his behavior worse.
There is no research that supports
segregated education
Regardless of the type of disability or grade level
of the students, “special needs students
educated in regular classrooms do better
academically and socially than comparable
students in non-inclusive settings”.
Baker, Wang & Wallberg, 1994
 Students in inclusive settings demonstrated
substantial progress on a measure of social
competence encompassing such specific
communication and social skills as initiation,
self-regulation, and ability to make thoughtful
choices. In contrast, students in segregated
settings actually demonstrated regression.
Cole and Meyer, 1991
“Students who spend 75% or more of their high
school programs in inclusive classrooms are 5 times
more likely to be employed after leaving school.
Also, students who are included in high school earn
more money than do peers who were primarily
Office of Special Education Programs, 1995
Inclusion strengthens the class as a whole and
benefits non-disabled students
When students with disabilities
are included, teachers work to
create strength-based
classrooms, increase students’
access to resources and
technology, implement
differentiation and teach skills of
collaboration and
Kasa-Hendrickson & Ashby, 2009
 (i) To the maximum extent appropriate, children with
disabilities….are educated with children who are
nondisabled; and
 (ii) Special classes, separate schooling, or other
removal of children with disabilities from the regular
educational environment occurs only if the nature or
severity of the disability is such that education in
regular classes with the use of supplementary aids
and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.
The Law
 Daniel R.R. v. State Board of Education (5th Circuit, 1989)
 The Court found that a regular education placement is appropriate if a
child with a disability can receive satisfactory education, even if it is not
the best academic setting
 Non-academic benefits must also be considered
 “Academic achievement is not the only purpose of mainstreaming”.
 Oberti v. Clementon (3rd Circuit, 1993)
 Schools must consider the whole range of supplemental aides and
 Schools must make efforts to modify the regular education program to
accommodate special education students.
 “Inclusion is a right, not a special privilege for a select few”
“We cannot teach students [with disabilities] in
isolation for 17 years, and then expect them to
survive in a typical world”
Paula Kluth
Inclusive Programming for Middle
School Students with Autism
Resolving Placement
 Due process
 Settlement: Inclusion with appropriate supports and
 1:1 paraprofessional for academic and behavioral
 Modified curriculum
 Behavioral Support
What Has Been Learned Through Inclusion
 Hidden Curriculum
Urinal Etiquette
When a girl asks if you like what she’s wearing, the answer is
always Yes
Apologize like you mean it
 Schoolwork and homework needs to be modified and adapted.
These modifications help many other students in the
 Always set the bar high. It can always be lowered, but sometimes it
doesn’t have to be.
 Aim towards independence
My suggestions for educators
Presume Competence!
”No belief is more damaging in education… than the
misperception that children with disabilities cannot really
succeed and shouldn't be challenged to reach the same
high standards as all children.”
Arne Duncan, US Secretary of Education
My suggestions for educators (cont’d)
 Do not focus on your student’s diagnosis or their
IQ score. Instead, focus on their strengths and
their abilities.
 Keep in mind the Dangers of a Label
The Dangers of a Label
 One of the problems inherent in diagnoses is that
“there is pressure to make everything fit with that
diagnosis, so that once the diagnosis has been
made, all the behaviors and decisions become
 People tend to ignore objective data that contradicts
the initial diagnosis.
 When we brand or label people, they take on the
characteristics of the diagnosis.
Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, Brafman
My suggestions for educators (cont’d)
 Instead of saying “she can’t”, ask….What if he
can? What other approach can I try?
 Some students may need direct instruction for
classroom skills (organization, behavior).
 If you see a child alone on the playground or at
lunch, do not assume that he prefers to be alone.
• Let me introduce myself
• My school story
• What I can teach employers
• A senior a Upper Dublin High School
• Employed at ACME for over 4 years
• Part of Self Advocate Network of PEAC
• Manager of the my high school football team
• Performed in two productions and part of
 stage crew at my high school.
• A big brother
Hobbies and Interests
 Watching the Phillies and Eagles
 Playing golf and chess
 College Basketball
 Politics
 My birth history
 Mixed Receptive expressive language disorder
 Auditory and visual processing disorder
 Coordination Disorder
 Attention Deficit Disorder
 Learning Disability (Dyslexia)
My Old School District
 Teachers would just pass me along
 They tried to help but did not know how to
 Could not learn the basics of reading
 In third grade pulled away from my friends
 In middle school had a first grade reading level
 They told my parents that I was not smart enough to
read well
 I want to go to college someday, but I couldn’t read
well and keep up with my classmates.
More Problems
 Stressful for me and my parents
 District did not listen too our concerns
 Process took many months
 Expensive - hired neuropsychologist and a lawyer
The Solution
 Enrolled at The Quaker School at Horsham
 Wilson Reading Program for decoding
 Visualizing and Verbalizing for comprehension
 One on One Reading Instruction
 Performed in the school plays, ran on the cross country team,
competed in the chess tournament, and played softball.
 Teachers cared more about my progress
 After 4.5 years at TQS, I improved my Reading by 6 grade levels!!!!!
 Then my family moved, and I got a fresh start at a new high school in
10th grade
 Don’t let students fall behind
 Include everybody
 There should not be a one size fits all approach because
people learn differently
 What works for one student might not work for the next
 Best for the student to be included so they don’t have to go
through the frustration that me and my family went
 Lost connections with my friends at my old public school
 Individual Education Plan
 I always participate in my meetings so I can express my
needs to the school
 Others aren’t making decisions for me
 Advocate for the right assistive technology for me
 My IEP includes education, employment, and
independent living goals
Transition Goals
 Postsecondary Education
 I will be attending Eastern Center for Arts and
 After high school, I want to attend Montgomery County
Community College.
 Employment
 After my education, I want to work in an office setting.
 Independent Living
 In a few years, I want to live in an apartment on my own.
Assistive Technology
 Computer – typewriting is easier for me than
handwriting. All my materials are electronic
 iPad for organization and different apps for education
like Read2Go
 Software - Bookshare and Kurzweil
 Smartphone – Calendars and schedules and family and
friend connections
Don’t Make These Assumptions…
 A person can’t learn because of their disability
 Students in special ed can’t learn with students who
are not in special ed
 Think of real life. I heard the phrase – “There is no
Special Ed McDonald’s.”
Future teachers
 Teach students the way they learn
 Identify students challenges
 Technology is advancing into a different generation to help
kids get around their disabilities.
 Need to read and follow everyone’s IEP so you don’t make
the wrong assumptions
Potential Employers
 Don’t judge people that have a disability,
because they are able to do the work.
 We may be discriminated against, but we
take employment seriously.
Contact Information
Lauren Beller, Self-Advocate Leader
Peter O’Halloran, Self-Advocate