157 episodes

Think Inclusive brings you conversations about inclusive education and what inclusion looks like in the real world.
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Think Inclusive MCIE

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 52 Ratings

Think Inclusive brings you conversations about inclusive education and what inclusion looks like in the real world.
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    How to Know You Are Implementing UDL with Loui Lord Nelson

    How to Know You Are Implementing UDL with Loui Lord Nelson

    About the Guest(s): Loui Lord Nelson, an internationally recognized expert in Universal Design for Learning (UDL), is the author of the bestselling book, "Design and Deliver." A former special education teacher, Loui is renowned for her work on UDL at various levels, including district, national, and international stages. She has been awarded her postdoc by CAST, influenced policies, and educational practices in the US and abroad, including work with the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Loui also hosts the "UDL in 15 Minutes" podcast, where she shares global insights into UDL implementation.
    Episode Summary: In this enlightening episode of Think Inclusive, host Tim Villegas delves into the intricate aspects of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) with Loui Lord Nelson, a globally recognized UDL leader. Loui shares her fascinating journey, from being a special education teacher to becoming a thought leader in educational practices that promote inclusivity. The episode is a cornucopia of practical advice, transformative insights, and real-world examples of UDL in action.
    Throughout the conversation, Loui elaborates on the UDL guidelines, emphasizing their role as a strategic framework to help educators design flexible learning environments and engagement strategies. The discussion explores the importance of creating a "buffet" of learning opportunities tailored to diverse learners and debunks the myth that UDL is just an overwhelming collection of tasks. Louie underscores the significance of reflecting on teaching practices and remaining adaptable, encouraging teachers to integrate UDL gradually and purposefully into their planning.
    In addition to practical tips for classroom implementation, the episode also navigates through the challenges of time management and collaboration among educators. Loui provides valuable guidance on utilizing tight communication structures and carving out collaborative planning time. The episode wraps up with an inspiring "mystery question" that reveals personal anecdotes from Loui and Tim, highlighting small victories and the joys of lifelong learning.
    Transcript: https://otter.ai/u/IB4Xa2pMR1GsXEsF58giaP-72IU?
    Key Takeaways:
    Understanding UDL Guidelines: Viewing UDL as a supportive framework rather than an add-on can transform teaching practices.Reflective Teaching: Reflection and intent in teaching are critical for effective UDL implementation.Collaboration: Structured, reliable communication platforms are essential for keeping educators synchronized, especially in schools with limited planning time.Time Management: Focus on one guideline at a time for a semester to deepen understanding without feeling overwhelmed.Environmental Design: Effective UDL practices often stem from well-planned learning environments that anticipate learner variability.
    The UDL Approach - https://theudlapproach.com/
    CAST UDL Guidelines - https://udlguidelines.cast.org/
    Design and Deliver - https://products.brookespublishing.com/Design-and-Deliver-P1237.aspx
    UDL in 15 Minutes - https://theudlapproach.com/podcasts/
    Sponsor: https://dcmp.org/
    Website: https://mcie.org

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    • 51 min
    Reframing Special Education Using Strengths-Based IEPs with April Rehrig

    Reframing Special Education Using Strengths-Based IEPs with April Rehrig

    About the Guest(s): April Rehrig is the founder of Rise Educational Advocacy and Consulting, LLC. With over 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher and school psychologist in Los Angeles, April is a licensed educational psychologist and a board-certified special education advocate. She has attended the prestigious COPAA SEAT 2.0 and 3.0 programs and is a certified Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Specialist and Master IEP Coach. Her services include parent advocacy, IEP coaching, and DIY IEP workshops.
    Episode Summary: In this insightful episode of Think Inclusive, host Tim Villegas speaks with April Rehrig, founder of Rise Educational Advocacy and Consulting, LLC, who shares her profound insights on writing strengths-based IEPs (Individualized Education Programs). They discuss the complications of IEP documents and the importance of reframing special education to focus on students' strengths instead of deficits.
    Rehrig elaborates on the systemic issues causing confusion around IEPs, including the medical model traditionally used to write them, and offers strategic advice on how parents and teachers can structure IEPs to genuinely benefit students. The conversation touches on practical aspects like the importance of effective IEP training, using person-centered language, and the role of negotiation within IEP meetings. This episode is essential listening for anyone invested in special education and striving for better educational outcomes for all students.
    Transcript: https://otter.ai/u/G4kZrOPQzj9e1ewoTFhUN6kYNow?utm_source=copy_url
    Key Takeaways:
    Reframing Special Education: Shift from a deficit-based to a strengths-based approach in IEPs to better support students.The Importance of Language: Utilize person-centered language to write effective and empowering IEPs.Strategic Questions: Asking the right questions and focusing on students' needs can lead to better negotiation outcomes in IEP meetings.Effective Training: Teachers need robust and practical training to write and implement strengths-based IEPs.Collaboration over Competition: Encouraging teachers, parents, and advocates to work together rather than viewing the process as adversarial.Resources:
    Website: Rise Educational Advocacy and Consulting, LLCTeachers Pay Teachers Store: Rise Educational Advocacy on TPTInstagram: @RiseEdAdvocacyMCIE Summer Insititute 2024: https://secure.givelively.org/event/maryland-coalition-for-inclusive-education-inc/mcie-summer-institute-2024
    MCIE: https://www.mcie.org/

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    • 51 min
    FEED DROP: AMI The Pulse

    FEED DROP: AMI The Pulse

    Think Inclusive is off this week as we prep for the homestretch to season 11.  
    This week, we have a feed drop for you from our friends at AMI.  
    It’s called The Pulse. 
    In this episode: Journalists Amy Silverman and Rebecca Montelion discuss ableism, journalism, and intellectual disability. They explore the importance of plain language in news reporting and the need to include the voices of people with intellectual disabilities themselves. The guests share their experiences working on a pilot project that focused on cognitive accessibility in journalism and highlight the lack of scholarly research in this area. They also discuss the challenges of navigating relationships with caregivers and parents when covering stories about people with intellectual disabilities.  
    Transcript: https://otter.ai/u/uyq8j83pDlyeEAYJxrRBljRcwo4
    Enjoy the feed drop from AMI - The Pulse to learn more about making journalism more inclusive and accessible. 
    We will see you back in our feed next week.

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    • 26 min
    Breaking Barriers: How JDS Creative Academy is Empowering Adults with Developmental Disabilities

    Breaking Barriers: How JDS Creative Academy is Empowering Adults with Developmental Disabilities

    About the Guest(s): Diane Strand is an accomplished entrepreneur, influential leader in the creative industry, and an advocate for inclusion through the arts. With a rich background that includes credentials from iconic shows such as "Friends," "General Hospital," and "Veronica's Closet," Diane's expertise spans across production and acting. Alongside her professional acting partner and husband Scott Strand, Diane has co-authored a guide to breaking into the acting industry. She is a leading force behind the JDS Creative Academy, a non-profit organization aiming to promote inclusivity and creative learning for individuals with a variety of learning styles, including those with developmental disabilities. Diane's work is centered around her belief in the transformative power of the arts and her commitment to opening up creative opportunities for all.
    Episode Summary: In this episode of the Think Inclusive podcast, Tim Villegas engages in an insightful conversation with Diane Strand, a passionate advocate for inclusive practices and the power of the arts in education and workforce development. The dialogue delves into Diane's personal experiences with exclusion and inclusion, her journey in the creative industry, and her transformative work with JDS Creative Academy.
    Beginning with Diane's own encounter with dyslexia and the pivotal moment she felt included through the school play, the episode dives into how these experiences shaped her understanding of inclusion and led to her embrace of the arts as a universal connector. Diane discusses her dedication to helping individuals, especially those with developmental disabilities, find their passion and purpose through a variety of creative endeavors. The conversation also explores the adaptable curriculum Diane has crafted, with the goal of fostering creative thinking and practical skills among learners of all abilities.
    Transcript: https://otter.ai/u/OAym_QySWLT636mg_2O3I8tLiAs
    Key Takeaways:
    The significance of inclusion in fostering a sense of value and belonging among individuals.The arts as a powerful tool for inclusivity and learning across various educational and workforce settings.The personal growth and development that can stem from pushing through exclusion and embracing one's capabilities.JDS Creative Academy as an innovative model for teaching video production and multimedia skills to a diverse learning community.Diane's approach to curriculum development which prioritizes hands-on, tailored learning experiences to fit individual needs.
    Diane Strand's website: https://dianestrand.com/
    JDS Creative Academy: https://jdscreativeacademy.org/
    MCIE: https://mcie.org/

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    • 44 min
    Understanding Behavior in Education: Shifting Perspectives and Supporting Students with Dr. Emily King

    Understanding Behavior in Education: Shifting Perspectives and Supporting Students with Dr. Emily King

    About the Guest(s): Dr. Emily King is a licensed psychologist with a background in school psychology and a passion for supporting neurodivergent individuals. Her professional history includes working as a school psychologist and providing consultation services for educators and parents. Dr. King focuses on understanding and supporting diverse learners' emotional experiences, utilizing her expertise to equip educators with the knowledge and tools to foster inclusive learning environments. She is also an advocate for parent-teacher collaboration, aiming to improve the education system for neurodiverse students.
    Episode Summary: In this enlightening episode of the Think Inclusive podcast, host Tim Villegas invites Dr. Emily King to delve into the shifting landscape of educational support for behavior in schools. The conversation offers a compelling snapshot of the evolution that has occurred from a deficit framework towards a more inclusive and neurodiversity-affirming approach in classrooms. Vital concepts such as emotional regulation, behavior prevention, and the influence of neuroscience on understanding student behavior underpin the discussion, offering a rich tapestry of insights into modern educational practices.
    Dr. King shares her personal journey through the field of school psychology, touching on how her own experiences as a parent and educator have shaped her philosophies on student behavior and discipline. With a significant shift towards understanding anxious behaviors and patterns, the episode uncovers strategies educators can utilize to anticipate and mitigate disruptive behaviors through rooted comprehension of each child's unique needs. Listeners will be guided through the nuances of functional behavior assessments and behavior intervention plans, highlighting the importance of adapting to learners' abilities for effective teaching.
    Transcript: https://otter.ai/u/WwJu-DxoZpu8AwjwPp830QTjd0s
    Key Takeaways:
    The transition from a deficit model to a more compassionate, neurodiversity-focused approach has reshaped support for student behavior.Functional behavior assessments and intervention plans need to align with the child's developmental stage for them to be successful.Preventing disruptive behaviors involves understanding the underlying motives and patterns rather than focusing solely on the behaviors themselves.Educators must strive to create classroom environments where students feel safe learning, expressing themselves, and navigating challenges.Embracing inclusive educational practices calls for training programs that prepare teachers to support an increasingly neurodiverse student population.
    Dr. Emily King's website: https://www.learnwithdremily.com/
    Emily's Substack: https://learnwithdremily.substack.com/
    The optimum context for learning; drawing on neuroscience to inform best practice in the classroom: https://explore.bps.org.uk/content/bpsecp/33/1/75
    Thanks to DCMP for being our sponsor this week: https://dcmp.org/
    MCIE Summer Institute: https://secure.givelively.org/event/maryland-coalition-for-inclusive-education-inc/mcie-summer-institute-2024

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    • 53 min
    The Importance of Inclusion in Education: A Principal's Perspective with Will Parker

    The Importance of Inclusion in Education: A Principal's Perspective with Will Parker

    About the Guest(s): Will Parker hosts "Principal Matters: The School Leaders Podcast." With a rich background in education spanning over three decades, Will Parker has established himself as a seasoned educator and an influential voice in school leadership. Having served as a high school administrator for over 13 years and then as an executive director for a state Principals association, Parker boasts an extensive understanding of the challenges and triumphs within educational leadership. In his current role, he dedicates himself full-time to Principal Matters LLC, offering consulting services to principals and leaders across schools in the United States and internationally. His podcast has reached an impressive milestone, boasting 1.4 million downloads and nearly 400 episodes.
    Episode Summary: In this insightful episode of the Think Inclusive podcast, host Tim Villegas welcomes Will Parker, a seasoned educator and podcaster, to delve into the nuanced world of school leadership and the pressing issues facing principals today. Addressing the current climate in educational leadership, Parker brings to light the arduousness of a principal’s role, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The conversation begins with Parker highlighting the findings of a survey by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, revealing the staggering stress levels and mental health needs among school leaders. He highlights the complexities of managing safety, inclusivity, and the school environment amidst heightened scrutiny. As the dialogue progresses, they touch on the fundamental importance of inclusion not only for students but also for educators, illustrating how dignity and equitable access in education are central tenets of Parker's ethos. Showcasing real-world experiences, Parker shares poignant narratives reflective of the transformative power of empathetic leadership in schools.
    Transcript: https://otter.ai/u/K1jQrg_5VWcDKVxWpRWgaQ6Y1Ro
    Key Takeaways:
    A significant number of school leaders consider career changes due to high-stress levels and confrontations, which sheds light on the current crisis in leadership within the education sector.Inclusion is vital to the fabric of educational environments, emphasizing the human right to education for all children, irrespective of background or ability.Leadership involves a keen understanding of the individuals you serve, requiring differentiation in teaching, disciplinary approaches, and communication.The episode addresses the necessity for educators and leaders to uphold principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion amidst politically charged environments, emphasizing demonstrating unwavering love and support for students.Imaginative thinking and empathetic engagement are foundational strategies for school leaders to support teachers and nurture a successful learning environment, especially regarding inclusion.
    Principal Matters with William D. Parker: https://williamdparker.com/
    NASSP Survey of Principals and Students Reveals the Extent of Challenges Facing Schools: https://www.nassp.org/news/nassp-survey-of-principals-and-students-reveals-the-extent-of-challenges-facing-schools/
    Thank you to our sponsor, DCMP: https://dcmp.org/
    MCIE: https://www.mcie.org/

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    • 1 hr 4 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
52 Ratings

52 Ratings

Camper Kids Mom ,

Military special needs family

Thank you for all you’re doing at Think Inclusively. I first heard you on the Ashley Barlow podcast and knew I needed to add your podcast to my library. My son, who has Down syndrome, has been in 4 different districts and states spanning from preschool to 1st grade. Without educating myself through podcasts and online courses I wouldn’t know how to properly advocate for his inclusive education. Regardless of an out of state IEP stating “general education” for placement, we are always faced with the new district immediately wanting to place him in the most restrictive classroom. I have successfully advocated for him with each move and have successfully proven that inclusive education does work for him. But it’s always a fight to get him there. Thank you for always giving me more tools in my tool belt. We are about to move to district and state #5 and I’m already prepping for advocating. But a small part of me is hopeful we will have a positive welcome and we won’t have much of a battle ahead of us due to more and more parents and educators advocating for inclusive education.

Sam Aiko organicmatrix ,


Wow professional crisp clear and insightful! This podcast really opens my eyes to some fk the issues that are not addressed in education systems around the world! Thank you for brining us these perspectives!

Guthtaigh ,


Great to hear a podcast approaching disability inclusivity in education.

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