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Inclusion Column


“We the 15, we are people with disabilities, we are 15 percent of the world” People with disabilities are 15 percent of the world’s population, meaning that 3 out of 20 of us have a disability.

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Nearly eight years ago, I met a little character who deeply impacted my professional and personal life. His name was Luke. He was 12 years old and was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

Read More about Spinning
Inclusion at a Distance

Welcome back to a brave new year at ASFM! There is still a world of good to come out of Inclusive Learning at ASFM, and I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank all of the staff members who are committed to Inclusion. They are the Team that makes the Dream. 

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The Opportunity to Heal During a Pandemic

What has been startling in these past few weeks regarding the pandemic we are facing is how indiscriminately the virus attacks human bodies: bodies that live in wealth and poverty, bodies that live in one nation or another, bodies that practice Christianity or Hinduism or Islam. It has become abundantly clear just how similar we humans are—and that this similarity is through our own biological fallibility is okay. There is much possibility here.

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Inclusion and Creativity

Sure we know that being a teacher involves being creative with teaching and supporting students. However, moving towards a more inclusive approach implies an even broader creative thinking in order to take into account every student's strengths and needs, the curriculum and the available (or not available) resources.

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Inclusion Begins with Self-Awareness

Have you ever felt that you have had to make decisions influenced by other members of the social group you belong to? How to dress, despite of my comfort? What party to attend not being sure if I really want to attend? What to say, how to say it, regardless of if it goes against my beliefs and values? Even as an adult, these are conflicting questions I constantly ask myself on a day to day basis.

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I have always felt proud to be an Eagle; since I was hired I felt happy to belong to a top school not only in Monterrey but of all Latinamerica. However, this pide and love for my school grew even stronger when it was announced, in 2015, that we were moving towards a more inclusive community.

Read More about Inclusion: A lifestyle

As stated by Dr. Adams in his kick-off message, “the 2019-2020 school year marks the fifth and final year of our strategic innovation plan,” and it reiterates our commitment to the goals that drove our community’s decision to identify Diversity and Inclusion as one of the pillars of this plan.

Read More about Our Commitment To Inclusion
Inclusion is for Everyone

One of the greatest lessons as an Inclusion Assistant has been how inclusive education benefits all of us. If we believe in the idea that every student can learn and grow, inclusion makes it possible for every student to receive what she or he needs to develop their skills to the fullest.

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Celebrating Inclusion

Last week the ASFM community celebrated Inclusion Week. It was a celebration of growth, learnings, and progress. The whole ASFM community was invited to participate and the response was overwhelming. The atmosphere felt energized, and our school was brimming with kindness.

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When we hear the word Inclusion, we might think about embracing differences. However, it is much more than that. Inclusion really means to appreciate each other’s accomplishments and strengths in order to build a unified team or community, honoring each other’s differences.

Read More about Inclusion is in your Hands

This is the title of an article written by Geraldine Panelli (2019). In this article, she talks about the discomfort that she felt since she was a child whenever she saw evidence of discrimination, lack of empathy, selfishness and the need to judge others. This discomfort moved her to become better informed and curious about the things she didn’t understand.

Read More about What if we live without Judging?
Peers in Inclusive Environments

t wasn’t always this way, but now these are phrases I often hear from my students.
I can recall the first week of school: questions, uneasy reactions, and struggles to adapt to certain behaviors while they first got to know each other. But there has been such a behavioral shift! Today, these students have learned to be caring, empathetic, accepting, and loving with friends who look, communicate, and act differently from what they'd known before in their short lives.

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Neuroplasticity is a change in the nervous system’s function and structure. Is the ability of the brain to adapt, make changes and work in a different way by connecting or creating new routes to neurons.

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Grit is not giving up or giving in. Grit is to follow your dreams despite obstacles, until they come true. Nowadays, our children live a life that’s regularly punctuated by grades, scores, and how talented they are. Expectations are somewhat above what human beings can possibly achieve. But talent alone will not actually make your dreams come true. Grit turns dreams into a reality.

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“We should be more like children,” was a recurrent comment on a video by CBeebies, BBC children’s network, recently gone viral. The video features children, whose differences are obvious to the viewer, responding to what makes them different from each other. It is heartwarming to watch children overlook noticeable differences such as height, gender, race or disabilities, think for a while and then discuss food preferences, toe size, position on the soccer field, or whether squirrels live on their roofs. Is it that children are blind to differences?

Read More about Being Inclusive is Being More Like Children

Have you ever asked yourself what would be the best gift you could give your child? The most common route to go is with what we might call the obvious...the best education, many wonderful vacations, making sure they have all they need in regards to trends (technology, video games, the newest and most beautiful toys), and off course, love. It is amazing how, as parents, we go around trying so hard to make our children happy. But what does that really mean?

Read More about Inclusion… An Unexpected Gift

When you think of autism, dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, what comes to your mind? What are we focusing on? Do we focus on the negative aspects of the disorders or the beautiful characteristics that these students possess? Let’s be honest, struggles and difficulties are real but instead of focusing on that, let's appreciate the positive. All of our kids have too much to offer.

Read More about The Positive Side of Common Disabilities

At ASFM, we are proud to say we are inclusive. Being inclusive primarily means that we demonstrate an attitude that allows us to understand the uniqueness of each individual and their right to an education.

Read More about Autism Awareness

There is a recent boom about positive thoughts, positive messages, and positive psychology in general. Some people agree and actually try to apply this everyday , following these messages, activities, and guidelines that society comes up with (yoga, mindfulness, fitness…). In social terms, we know some agreements that work as a foundation to promote positive social interactions. One of these agreements is to presume good intentions.

Read More about Presuming competence: Assuming ability!

When I first heard the term Social Model of Disability I first had to understand what a Model of Disability was. The Michigan Disability Rights Coalition defines it as a tool for defining impairment and providing a basis upon which government and society can devise strategies for meeting the needs of disabled people.

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“Inclusion” it is not placing students with disabilities or special needs in a general education classroom. INCLUSION means being able to adapt, incorporate, modify, accommodate and support, as a school community, all the individual needs of every child. This not only benefits students with disabilities , it also creates an environment in which ALL students, parents, and teachers have the opportunity to grow and learn from each other.

Read More about What is Inclusion?

My inclusion story is about belonging. As a new family from another country coming to ASFM a couple of years ago, we were so nervous. My husband and I worried over whether our children would make friends, even with their cultural differences.

Read More about Belonging at ASFM

Inclusion is a way of living, acting, relating, interacting and thinking about others. Inclusion comes from a mindset that empathizes with different needs. It is accepting others the way they are by supporting and tolerating their differences. Those great differences that make us special and unique. What valuable and incredible words: SPECIAL and UNIQUE.

Read More about We All Benefit from Inclusion

A key message I have always believed in is that the language we use to express ourselves shapes our own reality. Our words reflect our attitudes, which in turn, shape our actions. As we become more inclusive at ASFM, we must remember that the language we use has to reflect this.

Read More about People First Language