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Blog: Monday, December 10th, 2018

The Evolution of Inclusion

As a child, I only remember one student in a wheel chair at elementary school, and perhaps a couple of students in high school who appeared to have some cognitive delays. That’s it! What a different world we live in today. Or is it? Were there actually fewer diverse learners back then? Not likely.

At our most recent Superintendent’s Meeting, the Learning Support Services (LSS) Department shared Shelley Moore’s latest video on the “Evolution of Inclusion”. In this video, Shelley challenges us to reflect on where we are as an educational system on this continuum from past exclusionary practices to our presently evolving inclusionary practices. She encourages us to continue with this journey. I’m so thankful that my daughter was in a school system that was more diverse than the one I grew up in, but as Shelley states: “Can we do better?”

During the November 23rd Professional Development Day, Tyrone and Lyndon Brown shared their personal journey of what it is like to grow up with a visible disability and an invisible ability. The brothers spoke honestly about their experience of having severe global dyspraxia - a motor planning impairment which means they are non-verbal and have physical challenges. They were often marginalized and misunderstood. Derogatory comments were made about them in “ear shot” because people thought they didn’t comprehend what was being stated, but they did understand, and it hurt them deeply!

However, with the help of their parents and caring educators who took a real interest in their abilities, they persevered, and consequently both graduated from AVS. In Lyndon’s words “Perhaps the greatest life lesson I learned through this was ‘never give up’ and ‘never believe it’s impossible’”. Today, Tyrone and Lyndon are poet advocates. Tyrone states “I believe advocacy can make a difference not only to others who are non-verbal but also to bring awareness to society of the impact of treatment of all those with disabilities.”

The brothers encourage me to be do better for future generations of children. If it’s not good enough for my future grandchild, then it’s not good enough for anyone’s child! Let’s not be satisfied with good; let’s get better!

Bonnie Iftody
District Vice-Principal - Learning Support Services