Implementing an Inclusion Project Event


The planning committee is ready to celebrate their hard work through the holding of an Inclusion Project event!

Although the youth leaders who developed this guide and toolkit have targeted activities to occur during October’s Disability History & Awareness Month, schools are encouraged to hold diversity and inclusion events throughout the school year. Do not forget -- the Inclusion Project staff at VCU and VDOE and their steering committee members are available to provide technical assistance (dvyarbrough@vcu.edu, brandtj@vcu.edu, marianne.moore@doe.virginia.gov). The report (found at www.virginiaselfadvocacy.org) from the Inclusion Project pilots held in Northumberland and Radford include lessons learned.

The last section of this guide is comprised of a toolkit of sample classroom and building activities for students in K-12 grades. These activities were developed by the Inclusion Project’s youth leaders. For example: simulate a variety of disabilities using the computer, a wheelchair or a blindfold; showcase local artists with disabilities; and invite speakers with disabilities to present during an assembly or in the classroom.

Some activities involve showing videos. All Web links must be checked prior to beginning the activity. If you select an activity with a video and the Web link does not work, try to find a similar video clip by using YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/) and/or TeacherTube (http://www.teachertube.com/). If you choose to use a different video clip rather than the one in the activity, make sure that the clip fits the goal and the step-by-step description match the intent of the activity.

Other activities require certain equipment, such as, wheelchairs, walkers or canes.You might want to check with the school’s special education department or you may want to contact the following community organizations in your area:

Some of these activities may require borrowing or purchasing different items. Inclusion Project ideas and suggestions are in the attached activity toolkit and can be found on the Partnership’s DHAM Web page: www.virginiaselfadvocacy.org under the Disability Awareness tab.Also included are lesson plans provided by Inclusion Project event sites.


COVID-19: Guidelines Regarding Virtual Events

The structure of all Inclusion Project (IP) events has changed since COVID-19 continues to impact our daily lives. The following guidelines are suggestions for ensuring that your event is accessible to ALL. While it is not required for grant awardees to follow every guideline below, it is strongly recommended that substantial efforts be made to ensure accessibility of all virtual IP events. The following guidelines include:

  • Make all the activities accessible to all students by using the principles of Universal Design for Learning.
  • Send out a survey prior to the event and request accommodation needs from all attendees.
  • Ensure the event is accessible to all attendees by providing visual descriptions for the blind and visually impaired, closed captioning or interpreting for the deaf and hearing impaired, etc.
  • Email event materials (i.e. transcript, activity directions, etc.) prior to your event to ensure all attendees understand your event.
  • Include people with disabilities in every aspect of the event (planning, publicizing, running the event, etc). This will also provide relevant perspectives regarding accommodations that may be needed for your event.
    • If you are discussing specific disabilities, proper representation is essential.
  • Don't assume all attendees know how to properly access the event through their computer, smartphone, and/or tablet. Provide tutorials.

Tips for a successful Inclusion Project event:

  • When seeking presenters with disabilities for educational programs, look to individuals from the community with diverse disabilities, ethnic backgrounds and gender. This diversity will ensure adequate representation.
  • When advertising the Inclusion Project event, use creative, high-quality publicity through hard copy print, public announcements, and social media. Students and parents may have difficulty understanding what the Inclusion Project might include so use words that can be easily understood and that specifically identify the topic of the event(s).
  • All aspects of the Inclusion Project event should accurately reflect your Inclusion Project vision. The agenda and activities offered should convey the message without using stereotypes.
  • Be prepared for possible insensitive comments or gestures from participants about or during the Inclusion Project event(s). All building staff need to make a personal commitment to hold students and parents accountable for their words or actions that denigrate or dehumanize others. For example, jokes or stories that are demoralizing to persons with disabilities, including the use of the word ‘retard.’ You may want to use the individual’s words or actions as a teachable moment.
  • Avoid statements and activities that may be misconstrued as stereotyping or as statements reflecting assumptions about people with disabilities.
  • Vet videos and websites that will be used through the Inclusion Project Planning Committee to ensure they reflect person-first language and are appropriate.

One to two months before an Inclusion Project event:

  • Announce a reminder of the Inclusion Project to the school staff to ensure that teachers will have time to study activities, develop lesson plans, and prepare any necessary supplies for the activities held during the event.
  • Contact the media about the event plans.
  • Contact any outside community partners to remind them of their part in the Inclusion Project.
  • Announce the Inclusion Project to the community through social media.
  • Post a list to personnel of the name and contact information of who is responsible for each aspect of the Inclusion Project.

Two weeks to one month before an Inclusion Project event:

  • Announce the Inclusion Project to students through morning school announcements, flyers sent home to families, posters in the building, and social media.
  • Distribute and collect Inclusion Project pre survey forms (if applicable).
  • Finalize event agenda.

A week before the Inclusion Project event:

  • Increase announcements of the Inclusion Project.
  • Ensure all event equipment is available, if applicable.
  • Test video and other Web sites
  • Repost a list to personnel of the name and contact information of who is responsible for each aspect of the Inclusion Project.

A day before the Inclusion Project:

  • Ensure that the event materials are gathered and distributed to the correct locations and that teachers have copies of necessary materials.
  • Post the event agenda in all classrooms.
  • Remind event volunteers or selected individuals of their duties, timeslots and/or locations in the building.

The Inclusion Project Event Day/Time:

  • Arrive early to ensure everything is in place and people have what they need.
  • Start and end the event at the advertised times.
  • Distribute and collect Inclusion Project event surveys from students, staff, administrators and teachers (see sample survey on the following pages).
  • Through public announcement system, thank everyone involved.
  • HAVE FUN!!!

After the Inclusion Project event:

  • If the survey is not distributed during the event, gather input from teachers, staff, students and others about what went well and what didn’t work well.
  • Distribute and collect Inclusion Project post event surveys (if applicable)
  • Send pictures, video, stories, lesson plans, and/or materials used to the Inclusion Project staff at VCU to post on the state’s DHAM Web site.

Evaluation Tools and Survey Link

The above link has sample evaluation tools that can be used with students, administrators, staff, and teachers as

  1. pre and post assessments of attitudes and beliefs about disabilities
  2. surveying those involved in carrying out Inclusion Project event activities on their perceptions of the toolkit activities and the success of the event
  3. an Inclusion Project Planning Committee debriefing form

Virginia Commonwealth University
School of Education
Partnership for People with Disabilities
700 East Franklin Street
P.O. Box 843020
1st Floor, Suite 140
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 828-3876
TDD Relay: 800-828-1120
Updated:
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The Inclusion Project was made possible by a grant from the Virginia Department of Education.

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