What is Inclusion?
People who exist in the worlds of disability and special education are very familiar with the word inclusion. The word has taken on MANY meanings to many people over the years. To the Braintree Special Education Parent Advisory Council, inclusion means this: Everyone is included.
Pretty straight forward right? Not necessarily. We as an organization believe that all people should be included in all things. For children and youth with special needs, this is not necessarily the case.
When an environment is adjusted to the child’s needs so that they may participate, this is inclusion. When typical children are grouped together with children that have unique needs, this is inclusion. When there is equal opportunity to participate, regardless of ability, everyone receives the benefit. When employers see beyond a physical difference and make a job description flexible so that a young person with a disability may be successful in a job to learn a life skill, this is inclusion in our community. When a coach stands out in left field so that he or she may be available to redirect a child playing third base with attention difficulties, this is inclusion.
Acceptance of difference and valuing diversity are wonderful things for anyone to learn. We in the Braintree SEPAC would like to inspire our community to think
about inclusion all the time. There are so many wonderful people and groups within our community that foster the ideals of inclusion and some don’t even realize they are doing it, it just comes naturally.
On May 24, 2012 in the Braintree with Mayor Sullivan as our host, we would like to honor those members of our community that include all children and youth in town wide activities, recreation or just in their daily lives. This person may be a teacher, a parent, a child, a community member or group of people. Please consider nominating someone you think is a true believer in inclusion and demonstrates that belief in the things they do. Actions have always spoken louder than words haven’t they?
We are proud to have honored in the last three years several people for how they demonstrate a commitment to including ALL children and youth in Braintree.
In 2009, Bob Beach, the Director of the Braintree Municipal Golf Course, Marilyn Seaver, a parent of two adult children with special needs, Tess Williams, a student at South Middle School and Donna Wise, a Special Education teacher at the Flaherty School were honored.
In 2010, St. Francis of Assisi Parish’s Religious Education program was honored including Fr. Kevin Sepe, Fr. Darrin Colorusso, Marge Donaher, Religious Education Director and Marie Manning a religious education teacher. Kara Perkins at Alliance Rehabilitation Center in Braintree and Cathy Tomczyk, a member of the staff at Thayer Public Library were also honored.
In 2011, Nancy Bucknam, a paraeducator at Braintree High School, Kerrie Doherty (a.k.a. “Coach Kerrie”), who started the Superstars sports league in Braintree, John Hume, a parent and volunteer coach and Kevin
Leahy, a Physical Education teacher at the Flaherty were honored.
NOMINATE SOMEONE IN OUR COMMUNITY!
If you know of someone in our community, who furthers the ideals of inclusion in Braintree, intentionally or not, please nominate them for a Community Inclusion Award. This award will be presented at a celebratory event this spring on May 24, 2012 at Braintree Town Hall.
The deadline to submit nominations is March 31, 2012. Nominations can be sent to SEPAC at 128 Town St., Braintree, MA 02184, ATTN: Community Inclusion Award Committee or via email to Kristen Zechello, the event chairperson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
–Special Education Parent Advisory Council