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Equity, Opportunity and Inclusion for People with Disabilities since 1975 Volume 39 w Issue 1 w Fall 2013

Exploring the Common Core State Standards

In This Issue The Common Core State Standards and Their Potential Impact on Least Restrictive Environment: Julia M. White w Page 6 Teaching the CCSS: A Process for Inclusive Practices: Deborah Taub w Page 12

2013 TASH Conference Recap Page 27

The Importance of Inclusive Practices, An Interview with Linda Quintanilha: Lou-Ann Land w Page 16 Presuming Competence: Rick Creech w Page 18 “Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude:� Implications of Standards-Based Reform for General and Special Educators: Cheryl M. Jorgensen w Page 21


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Connections Editor

Charles Dukes Editorial Committee

Deborah Taub Elizabeth Fullerton Linda Lengyl Pamela Lamar-Dukes 2011 TASH Board of Directors

David L. Westling, President, Chair, Membership Committee Jean Trainor, Vice President, Chair, Development Committee Carol Quirk, Past President, Chair, Diversity Committee Diane Ryndak, Secretary, Chair, Publications Committee Barbara Loescher, Ex Officio, Treasurer Shirley Rodriguez, Ex Officio, Co-Chair, Chapter Leadership Committee Michael Callahan, Chair, Employment Committee Mary Morningstar, Chair, Education Committee Gail Fanjoy, Chair, Community Living Committee Sharon Lohrmann, Chair, Conference and Training Committees Lisa Mills, Ex Officio, Chair, Public Policy Committee Pat Amos, Ex Officio, Chair, Human Rights Committee Curtina Moreland-Young Ari Ne’eman Betty Williams Micah Fialka-Feldman Bill Smith Lewis Jackson Emily Titon Terri Ward Martin Agran, Ex Officio Charles Dukes, Ex Officio

Volume 39 w Issue 1 w Fall 2013

Table of Contents 4 Letters from TASH 4 Thank You Donors

Articles from Our Contributors 6 The Common Core State Standards and Their Potential Impact on Least Restrictive Environment: Julia M. White 12 Teaching the CCSS: A Process for Inclusive Practices: Deborah Taub 16 The Importance of Inclusive Practices, An Interview with Linda Quintanilha: LouAnn Land 18 Presuming Competence: Rick Creech 21 “Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude:” Implications of Standards-Based Reform for General and Special Educators: Cheryl M. Jorgensen 25 Glossary 27 Special Feature: 2013 TASH Conference Recap 31 Association News 36 Chapter News

Contact Us

1001 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 235 Washington, DC 20036 Phone: (202) 540-9020 w Fax: (202) 540-9019 w Barbara Trader, Executive Director Jonathan Riethmaier, Advocacy Communications Manager Haley Kimmet, Program Manager Michelle Early, Operations Manager To request an alternative format of TASH Connections call (202) 540-9020. Copyright© TASH 2012. No reprints without permission. Permission requests can be faxed to (202) 540-9019.

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Letter from the President Welcome to the latest issue of Connections. I think you will find this issue very rich with meaningful content produced by both professionals and advocates. As we continue to move forward based on values and research, we need to continue to find ways to make sure all important practices are maintained. TASH has never been known as an organization to shy away from difficult issues. We know that for all of our members and constituents, inclusion in schools and the community for people with significant disabilities is the sine qua non of our organization. From this agreed position, we move through degrees of agreement and disagreement on the nature of instructional practices, interventions, and outcomes. In this issue, the authors note the promise of instructing students with severe disabilities to learn academic content presented in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), but warn that some will argue this will be better achieved in more segregated settings. As Dr. White points out in her paper, “Since this next wave of school reform has the potential to increase the placement of students with more complex support needs along the ‘continuum of alternate placements’ in more restrictive settings due to the increased pressure of teacher evaluation systems and the increased focus on student ‘growth’ and the (mis)perception that some students would best ‘access the general education curriculum’ in homogeneous groups, diligence around the construction of students’ IEPs is more important than ever.” In other words, some may propose that a CCSS-based curriculum will result in more segregation. However other authors in this issue demonstrate why this is not necessary or desirable, and address the important role of preparing all teachers to be effective teachers for all students. The papers presented by advocates show the personal importance and benefits of a meaningful, inclusive education.

Let’s face it, advocacy for the inclusion of people with significant disabilities in schools and communities will be necessary for a long time. The argument of quality instruction versus inclusive placement is an old one. Although there are still many questions that need to be answered through research, as there have always been, some David L. Westling, Ed.D. answers are apparent already, President, TASH Board of Directors based both on research and our values. And these answers clearly tell us that we cannot move backward by allowing new reforms in public education to come at the cost of what has been gained. I think you will find the articles in this issue of Connections to be useful as more schools continue to implement curriculum based on the CCSS.

David Westling President, TASH Board

TASH Gratefully Acknowledges the Following Donations of Time and Money Carol Quirk Christine Lerchen Curtina MorelandYoung Curtis Richards David Westling


Donna Gilles Frank J Laski Gail Fanjoy Hyun-Sook Park I TASH Ian Pumpian

Jean Trainor Jeffrey Butler Jim Todd Jinsook Baek Um John Butterworth Judith Jellison

Kathy Gee Kelly Mccormack Leslie Lederer Lou Brown Lyle Romer Mark Wurzbacher

Marna Beatty Mary Romer Merrill Friedman Micah FialkaFeldman Michael J. Callahan

Michele Flasch Ziegler Mosakowski Family Foundation New Hampshire Charitable Foundation

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A Letter from Our Executive Director The Magic of High Expectations The Common Core Standards are, above all, about high expectations. The Mission Statement of the Common Core State Standards Initiative is to: “provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.” The definition of expectation is “a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.” TASH has challenged professionals and parents to have high expectations for children with disabilities from the very earliest ages – because we recognize their power. Children, regardless of their perceived capacity, tend to live into the expectations – high or low – the adults in their lives hold for them. Decades of educational research has demonstrated a strong correlation between expectations and outcomes (e.g., Brophy & Good, 1986). The imperative of embracing high expectations for students with disabilities is prevalent in TASH’s work – and universally shared by our members. High expectations are inextricably linked with presumption of competence. We may not know when a lesson will be learned or which strategy will work, but we know that giving up on students is not an option. And, as important, we recognize that when we give up, its US who give up, not the student. Our universal commitment to high expectations is aligned with the mission of the Common Core State Standards. Just like other educators and parents throughout the country, to

Pat Amos Ralph W Edwards Sandra McClennen Scott Shepard Shirley Rodriguez Susan Marks Susan Yuan Terri Hart-Ellis

Terri Ward Vern Heinrichs Victoria McMullen Wayne Sailor Whitney Rapp Amy Feinberg Barbara Trader Cathy Pratt

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Curtis Richards David Westling Dawn Brown Jim Todd Jinsook Baek Um JoeWykowski Judith Jellison Marna Beatty

TASH members the newness may be unsettling – the roll-out confusing – and the training and effort required daunting in an already challenging environment. But what a great opportunity to demonstrate what we know – that all students can learn when taught; that high expectations deliver great outcomes; and that evidence-based practices are worth implementing. In no way should students with disabilities be excluded from the Common Core State Standards.

Barbara Trader, Executive Director of TASH

This terrific issue of Connections is the second on the topic of the Common Core State Standards. Thanks to the authors and guest editor of this issue, these useful articles demonstrate how students with disabilities can actively be supported to realize the promise of the Common Core. They provide the argument, the framework, and the “how-tos” for advocates, parents and teachers to embrace these changes. To learn more, read this issue, and make sure to visit Nothing Happens Unless First a Dream —Carl Sandburg, The Complete Poems

Barbara Trader TASH Executive Director

Mathew McCollough Micah FialkaFeldman Michael J. Callahan Michele Flasch Ziegler Shirley Rodriquez United Way California Capital

Region Chapman University I TASH Institute on Disability University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability Chapman University

Illinois Vocational Rehabilitation Services University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration


Articles from Our Contributors The Common Core State Standards and Their Potential Impact on Least Restrictive Environment Julia M. White, Assistant Professor, Director, Inclusive and Special Education Program, University of Rochester


tudents with more complex support needs continue to be segregated at rates much higher than other students with disabilities, even though there is a research base that supports the improved participation, learning, and outcomes associated with students’ being taught in general education settings (Baker, Wang, & Walberg, 1994; Causton-Theoharis, Theoharis, Orsati, & Cosier, 2011; Hunt & Goetz, 1997; McDonnell, Thorson, Mc-Quivey, & KieferO’Donnell, 1997; Roach & Elliott, 2006; Ryndak, Morrison, & Sommerstein, 1999; Ryndak, Ward, Alper, Storch, & Montgomery, 2010; Waldron & McLeskey, 1998). The general education context is an important factor in access to the general education curriculum, and access to grade-level content in particular. In findings similar to Wehmeyer, Lattin, Lapp-Rincker, and Agran (2003), Soukup, Wehmeyer, Bashinski, and Bovaird (2007) found that students who were included in general education settings


worked on activities related to general education content standards 98% of the time they were observed, and of that time, they were working on their specific gradelevel general education content standards 83% of the time, while students who were not included were not observed even once working on a grade-level general education content standard. Research also shows that students with complex support needs make gains and receive benefits even when special education services and instruction are provided in general education contexts where best practices do not always occur (Matzen, Ryndak, & Nakao, 2010).

LRE and School Reform Despite the federal mandate to provide access to the general education curriculum in the regular education classroom and the research that supports including students with complex support needs, why do we continue to segregate students and how will the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) affect this trend? This paper will examine the relationship between segregation and the current landscape of school reform around the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

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Articles from our Contributors The Common Core State Standards and Their Potential Impact on Least Restrictive Environment

Smith (2007, 2010) argues that segregation is due, in part to the unintended consequences of high-stakes accountability environments in schools. An Office Special Education Programs (OSEP) funded national research study, State Accountability for All Students (2004), found that states that had high school exit exam requirements placed 50% more students with disabilities in more restrictive settings—outside of the general education classroom more than 60% of the time. This study also found that there was a statistically significant relationship between school sanctions and student placement in more restrictive environments. Schools that receive sanctions might tend to place students in segregated settings using the rationale that they are receiving more individualized instruction in the general education curriculum while raising test scores and addressing sanctions. Research on strategies for instruction in the general education curriculum for students with more complex support needs has largely been conducted in self-contained settings (Browder & Cooper-Duffy, 2003; Browder et al., 2007). The mandate that students have access to the general education curriculum (which has been largely researched in self-contained settings) and the focus on the performance of students with disabilities on highstakes assessments have in some ways converged and in part could have led to the acceptance of “a self-contained setting as a viable placement for students with ‘severe disabilities’” (Jackson, Ryndak, & Wehmeyer, 2008/9, p. 176). While students have the right to the general education classroom, the LRE principle can be considered “civil rights with [an] escape clause[]” (Biklen, 1992, p. 85). In his seminal critique of the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) principle, Taylor (1988) asserts that the LRE principle legitimates restrictive environments simply by presuming that there are more restrictive environments. In addition, the more intensive services are provided in more restrictive environments, effectively segregating and marginalizing those students who have more complex and intensive support needs. To support inclusive practices in this next wave of school reform, States will need to attend more closely to the supplementary aids and services provided to students with disabilities as they develop their college and career ready standards and assessments based on the CCSS. There are three contexts in which this attention will be critical in access and progress in the general education curriculum in the general education context for students with complex support needs: problem solving models (Response to Intervention / Instruction ), Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and communication supports.

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In problem solving models as they currently exist, the student is identified as deficient if he does not respond to evidence based interventions (it’s the child, not the process or intervention), these models typically lead to students’ being pulled out for provision of interventions, and there is little to no consideration of Response to Intervention/Instruction (RtI) or progress monitoring once a student is identified for special education services (Ferri, 2011). In this next wave of reform, problem solving models should no longer be considered as “interventions” to prevent the identification of disabilities; instead, problem solving models should become schoolwide systems that recognize that any student who struggles with the curriculum should be provided supports (Hehir, 2010) and for students receiving special education services as “an appropriate source of resources to provide an instructional match to an identified need rather than viewed as a place to send someone” (Sailor, 2008/9, p. 251). Similarly, UDL, the principles of which are based on the provision of multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement for students to access the curriculum, has largely been addressed in special education teacher preparation programs and considered to be a way of designing curriculum and instruction that removes barriers for students with disabilities. Through the construction and adoption of the CCSS, UDL has been considered from the outset. The CCSS Initiative also supports UDL and inclusive practices by showing ways students can participate fully from the outset such as expanding our vision for how students can interact with and present knowledge (communicates information v. gives an oral report) and by the provision of a full range of supports and appropriate accommodations. The last area of importance for the next wave, and inextricably linked with the first two, is supports for communication. In a study designed to specify the characteristics of almost 15,000 students who take alternate assessments, Kearns, Towles-Reeves, Kleinert, Kleinert, and Thomas (2011) found that students who are assessed by their teachers at being at the emergent symbolic and presymbolic levels use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) at very low levels and that, in general, students who take alternate assessments do not widely use AAC and are not expected to communicate. Thus, communication supports is an essential element to accessing grade-level general education curricular content, which includes access to general education contexts, as “[s]tudents who may appear to function at a presymbolic or emergent symbolic level of expressive communication may not be able to demonstrate their true


Articles from our Contributors The Common Core State Standards and Their Potential Impact on Least Restrictive Environment

communication levels if AAC has not been offered” (Kearns et al., 2011, p. 11).

CCSS and School Reform Initiatives Under Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) students with disabilities are entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the LRE. In the Rowley case, the Supreme Court (1982) provided a 2-pronged— procedural and substantive—test to determine whether a FAPE is provided: 1) compliance with the procedures set out in IDEA in constructing the Individualized Education Program (IEP), and 2) the IEP is constructed in a way so that the child will receive “some educational benefit.” The meaning of educational benefit has shifted in each wave of school reform. In the 2004 reauthorization of IDEA students with disabilities, including “students with significant cognitive disabilities” (as referred to in the federal regulations for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and IDEA) are now expected to “be involved and progress in the general curriculum” (20 U.S.C. 1414§614(a)(1) (A)(ii)(aa)). ESEA and IDEA are aligned, in that for assessments, ESEA requires that States provide “the reasonable adaptations and accommodations for students with disabilities [as defined in IDEA] … to measure the academic achievement of such students” (20 U.S.C. 6311 § 1111(b)(3)(C)(ix)(II)). States must also assess students with more complex support needs who take alternate assessments with instruments that “promote access to the general curriculum and reflect professional judgment of the highest possible standards achievable” (34 C.F.R.§200.1(d) (1)-(3)). Thus, the substantive prong of the Rowley test has been strengthened: the IEPs should be constructed in ways that promote access to and involvement and progress in the general education curriculum, to the highest possible standards, moving the concept of educational benefit to encompass the expectation that students will demonstrate involvement and growth in standards based general education content. One of the major mechanisms through which involvement and growth in standards-based general education curriculum is demonstrated is a high-stakes assessment system. Federal funds through Race To the Top Assessment grants allowed the creation of consortia to develop assessments based on the CCSS, two of these consortia are charged with developing alternate achievement standards and alternate assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities (The National Center and State Collaborative Partnership [NCSC] and the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment System Consortium [DLM]). Both


DLM and NCSC are designing assessments that will show student learning, attend to the principles of UDL, and provide IEP team guidance and professional development for educators. NCSC has a specific focus on “communication initiative”, which stresses the importance of effective use of augmentative and alternative communication strategies with students; the goal is that all students have a communication system by kindergarten and are able to develop their communication competence (Center for K-12 Assessment and Performance Management at ETS, n.d.). However, there are other factors that have the potential for these new initiatives to move towards a greater, or re-segregation of students with complex support needs. In a review of two States’ extended or essential standards based on the CCSS, for potential performance tasks there is still somewhat of an emphasis on functional skills (money, time, reading related to environment). For schools and educators who do not attend to the professional development and guidance offered by DLM and NCSC, there is the danger of embedding the CCSS into a functional life skills curriculum instead of infusing functional life skills into the general education curriculum based on the CCSS. Another factor that might impact the inclusion of students with complex support needs in general education classrooms is the new teacher (and principal) evaluation legislation, which is based on student performance. For example, in New York State, teachers are evaluated on a 100-point scale, with 60 points based on observations of practice (lesson observations, lesson plans, a portfolio) and 40 points based on student growth and performance (20 points based on the NYS tests and 20 pointed based on district determined assessments). For all teachers who have students with IEPs in their classroom, including special and general education teachers who co-teach, growth of all students in their classes is used for teacher evaluation scores. A group of New York State principals (2012) who oppose the teacher and principal evaluation system assert that “test scores [will] take front and center … [and] teachers will subtly but surely be incentivized to avoid … students with disabilities (p. 2). This has the potential to increase teachers’ advocating for students’ placement in selfcontained settings due to the perception that students would not show growth on state or district assessments. Schools and districts might also group students homogeneously in order to target specific areas of perceived need so that students would demonstrate growth in state and district assessments. However, this homogeneous grouping and segregation of students with significant disabilities would violate the LRE principle of IDEA.

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Articles from our Contributors The Common Core State Standards and Their Potential Impact on Least Restrictive Environment

Using the Next Wave of School Reform in LRE Cases There are four major decisions—and the “tests” that accompany Circuit Court decisions related to LRE—that most of the other Circuits have adopted: Roncker v. Walter (6th Circuit, 1983), Daniel R.R. v. State Bd of Ed (5th Circuit, 1989), Sacramento USD v. Rachel H. (9th Circuit Court, 1992), and Beth B. v. Van Clay (7th Circuit Court, 2002). The Roncker test is the “portability” test: if a segregated setting is considered superior, the court should decide whether those services provided in the segregated setting could be provided in a general education classroom; if they can, then the segregated setting is inappropriate under IDEA. The Daniel R.R. and Rachel H. tests extend Roncker: both have prongs related to the provision of supplemental aids and services in the general education classroom, and the Daniel R.R. test has a prong related to integrating the child to the maximum extent appropriate, while the Rachel H. test addresses the non-academic benefits of interactions with nondisabled children, the effect of the disabled child’s presence on the teacher and other students in the classroom, and the costs of integration. In the Beth B. case, the 7th Circuit Court decided not to develop a test to apply to LRE cases, as it considered that “the Act itself provides enough of a framework for our discussions.” The commonalities in each of the three adopted tests, which must be considered before a student can be removed to a more restrictive environment, are the presumption of general education contexts as the most appropriate educational environment for students, the satisfactory and sufficient provision of supplementary aids and services in the integrated setting, and the educational benefit gained from the integrated setting. Thus, the presumption of the integration of students with disabilities in the general education context based on the LRE principle is an essential component of the substantive prong of the Rowley FAPE test regarding educational benefit. Since this next wave of school reform has the potential to increase the placement of students with more complex support needs along the “continuum of alternate placements” in more restrictive settings due to the increased pressure of teacher evaluation systems and the increased focus on student “growth” and the (mis)perception that some students would best “access the general education curriculum” in homogeneous groups, diligence around the construction of students’ IEPs is more important than ever. In its guidance document on the application to students with

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disabilities (n.d.), the CCSS Initiative highlights the necessity of an IEP that includes annual goals aligned with the grade-level CCSS, along with the high expectations that students, with additional supports and services, will “participate with success” in the general education curriculum. While the CCSS documents do not directly address LRE, many of the practices around the implementation of the CCSS and assessment, including assessment based on alternate achievement standards from the CCSS, can be explicitly addressed in the IEP and incorporated into inclusive school and classroom practices, including problem solving models, UDL, and communication. This could in turn support potential positive outcomes for plaintiffs who challenge the placement of students in segregated environments. Problem solving models (typically framed as Response to Intervention/Instruction and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports [PBIS]) are universalist in scope, targeting all students who struggle and who need supports, and strategies and practices become more specialized for students with more complex support needs. This should not trigger placement along a continuum in order to receive those supports; instead, this should trigger an approach to provision of these supports and services to all students based on intensity of need. This demands a revision (or replacement) of the IEP process to be based less on pull down menus and procedural compliance and more on substantive decision making models that determine student needs through screening and progress monitoring data. Similarly, problem solving models around behavior (similar to PBIS) have the potential to address the “disruptive” factor of each test. Schools should not engage in perfunctory functional behavioral assessments and behavior intervention plans without exploring supports broadly and before a student is in crisis. If schools and classrooms are designed with the principles of UDL, both academic and behavioral issues could be addressed through offering students multiple ways to learn content, show what they know, and participate and engage in ways that are best for them, built-in accommodations, and environmental considerations that would mitigate some—but not all—challenges, leaving schools to focus on accommodations and modifications and other considerations not fully addressed by UDL, including specific communication supports. The findings of Kearns et al. (2011) on the low use of AAC for students who take alternate assessments and the proposal of NCSC around the communication initiative to ensure the communication competence of students with more complex support needs will also decrease disruptive behaviors and promote more positive behaviors, since students will be able


Articles from our Contributors The Common Core State Standards and Their Potential Impact on Least Restrictive Environment

to communicate their wants and needs, which in turn has the potential to increase of engagement in the general education curriculum based on the CCSS, yielding educational benefit. Problem solving models and teaching and learning by UDL principles could also effectively address the consideration of costs factors of the Roncker and Rachel H tests. There is no prohibition on the use of IDEA funds if there are “incidental benefits” to nondisabled students; in fact, IDEA and its regulations permits that funds used for the costs to provide resources for special education, supplemental aids and services, and related services, in accordance with the student’s IEP, can be used “even if 1 or more nondisabled children benefit from such services” (20 U.S.C. 1413 § 613(a)(4)(A)(i); 24 C.F.R. 300§208). The Roncker test factor asks whether the cost of integration deprives other students with disabilities, while the Rachel H test factor asks whether education in the general education context would be more expensive than a segregated context. In a recent study Cosier and CaustonTheoharis (2012) purposefully sampled 129 school districts (from 14 counties) in New York State and found that school districts with high percentages (closer to 98%) of “highly included” students (80% or more of their day in general education contexts) were likely to have lower special education per pupil expenditures and higher general education per pupil expenditures. While this study did not explore levels of participation or what inclusion looked like in these settings nor did they explore the extent of inclusion of students with different IDEA disability categories, student outcomes, or examine the extent of intermingling

of funds, it did strengthen the argument around schoolwide problem solving models and the call to (re)consider how funding streams can be used and how schools “allocate resources for students receiving special education services and if those resources may benefit more students when provided in an inclusive setting.” (p. 503).

Conclusion While the CCSS have the potential to continue the backslide of the inclusion of students with more intensive support needs in general education contexts due to the complex accountability schemes associated with implementation of the standards, practices around the implementation of the CCSS can also be implemented in ways that thoughtfully and fully include ALL students in non-restrictive environments. “Inclusion is a right, not a privilege for a select few” (Oberti, 1992, para. 29), and schools must presumptively provide supplementary aids and services in general education / nonrestrictive contexts, following the principles of UDL and problem solving models. In cases that these services are not provided in nonrestrictive contexts, parents and advocates should be able to use the guidance provided by the CCSS Initiative related to communication and UDL to argue against restrictive placements. The field of (special) education has a unique opportunity to be a proactive partner in entering into truly collaborative partnerships with general education teachers, related services providers, and administration to restructure how all students engage in this next wave of school reform.

References Assistance to States for the Education of Children With Disabilities and Preschool Grants for Children With Disabilities, 71 Fed. Reg. 46540 (2006). Baker, E. T., Wang, M. C., & Walberg, H. J. (1994). The effects of inclusion on learning. Educational Leadership, 52 (4), 33–35. Beth B. v. Van Clay, 282 F.3d. 493 (7th Cir. 2002). Biklen, D. (1992). Schooling without labels: Parents, educators, and inclusive education. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Board of Education of Hendrick Hudson C. Sch. Dist. v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176, 200 ( 1982). Browder. D., & Coopcr-Duffy. K. (2003). Evidence-based practices for students with severe disabilities and the requirement for accountability in “No Child Left Behind.” Journal of Special Education, 37, 157-163. Browder, D. M., Wakeman, S. Y., Flowers, C., Rickelman, R., Pugalee, D., & Karvonen, M. (2007). Creating access to the general curriculum with links to grade level content for students with significant cognitive disabilities: An explication of the concept. Journal of Special Education, 41, 2–16. Causton-Theoharis, J., Theoharis, G., Orsati, F., & Cosier, M.(2011). Does self-contained special education deliver on its promises? A critical inquiry into research and practice. Journal of Special Education Leadership, 24(2), 61-78. Center for K-12 Assessment and Performance Management at ETS. (n.d.). The Alternate Assessment Consortia: National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC). Retrieved from Common Core State Standards Initiative. (n.d.). Application to students with disabilities. Retrieved from Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2010a). Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. Retrieved from


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Articles from our Contributors The Common Core State Standards and Their Potential Impact on Least Restrictive Environment Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2010b). Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. Retrieved from assets/CCSSI_Math%20Standards.pdf Cosier, M., & Causton-Theoharis, J. (2011). Economic and demographic predictors of inclusive education. Remedial and Special Education, 32(6) 496–505. Daniel R.R. v. State Board of Education, 874 F.2d 1036 (5th Cir. 1989). Ferri, B. (2011). Undermining inclusion? A critical reading of response to intervention (RTI). International Journal of Inclusive Education. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/13603116.2010.538862. Hehir, T. (2010). Policy foundations of Universal Design for Learning. Wakefield, MA: National Center on UDL. Hunt, P., & Goetz, L. (1997). Research on inclusive educational programs, practices, and outcomes for students with severe disabilities. Journal of Special Education, 31, 3–29. Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004. 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq. Jackson, L., Ryndak, D., & Wehmeyer, M. (2008/9). The dynamic relationship between context, curriculum, and student learning: A case for inclusive education as a research based practice. Research and Practice for Persons With Severe Disabilities, 33/34 (4/1), 175–195. Kearns, J., Towles-Reeves, E., Kleinert, H., Kleinert, J., & Thomas, M. (2011). Characteristics of and implications for students participating in alternate assessments based on alternate academic achievement standards. Journal of Special Education, 45 (1), 3–14. Matzen, K., Ryndak, D., & Nakao, T. (2010). Middle school teams increasing access to general education for students with significant disabilities: Issues encountered and activities observed across contexts. Remedial and Special Education, 31(4), 287-304. McDonnell, J., Thorson, N., McQuivey, C., & Kiefer-O’Donnell, R. (1997). Academic engaged time of students with low incidence disabilities in general education classes. Mental Retardation, 35, 18–26 McLeskey, J., Landers, E., Williamson, P., & Hoppey, D. (2012). Are we moving toward educating students with disabilities in less restrictive settings? The Journal of Special Education 46(3), 131–140. New York State Principals. (2012). An open letter of concern regarding New York State’s APPR legislation for the evaluation of teachers and principals. Retrieved from No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. 20 U.S.C. § 6301 et seq. Oberti v. Board of Education, 801 F. Supp. 1392 (1992). Roach, A., & Elliott, S. (2006). The influence of access to general education curriculum on alternate assessment performance of students with significant cognitive disabilities. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 28(2), 181-194. Roncker v. Walter, 700 F.2d 1058 (6th Cir. 1983). Ryndak, D. L., Morrison, A. P., & Sommerstein, L. (1999). Literacy before and after inclusion in general education settings: A case study. Journal of the Association for Persons With Severe Handicaps, 24, 5–22. Ryndak, D., Ward, T., Alper, S., Storch, J., & Montgomery, J. (2010). Long-term outcomes of services in inclusive and self-contained settings for siblings with comparable significant disabilities. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 45 (1), 38–53. Sacramento City Unified Sch. Dist. v. Rachel H., 14 F.3d 1398 (9th Cir. 1994). Sailor, W. (2008/9). Access to the general curriculum: Systems change or tinker some more? Research and Practice for Persons With Severe Disabilities, 33/34 (4/1), 249–257. State Accountability for All Students. (2004). Issue brief: High stakes policies and students with disabilities. Retrieved from spec-ed/pdfs/lre_high_stakes.pdf Smith, P. (2007). Have we made any progress? Including students with intellectual disabilities in regular education classrooms. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 45(5), 297-309. Smith, P. (2010). Whatever happened to inclusion? The place of students with intellectual disabilities in education. New York: Peter Lang. Soukup, J. H., Wehmeyer, M. L., Bashinski, S. M., & Bovaird, J. A. (2007). Classroom variables and access to the general curriculum for students with disabilities. Exceptional Children,74, 101–120. Taylor, S. (1988). Caught in the continuum: A critical analysis of the principle of the Least Restrictive Environment. JASH, 13(1), 41-53. Title I—Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged; Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 35 C.F.R. pt. 200 (2007). U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Office of Special Education Programs, 30th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2008, Washington, D.C., 2011. Waldron, N. & McLeskey, J. (1998). The effects of an inclusive school program on students with mild and severe learning disabilities. Exceptional Children, 64, 395-406. Wehmeyer, M. L., Lattin, D., Lapp-Rincker, G., & Agran, M. (2003). Access to the general curriculum of middle-school students with mental retardation: An observational study. Remedial and Special Education, 24, 262-272.

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Articles from our Contributors

Teaching the CCSS: A Process for Inclusive Practices

By Deborah Taub, PhD, Keystone Assessment, & Mike Burdge, Keystone Assessment



f you are in the field of education, or even if you are not, you have been hearing a lot about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). If fact, there have been discussions related to CCSS in issues of TASH Connections and Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities as well as on the TASH Website and at the TASH Annual Conference. You might be wondering, then, what is different about this issue of TASH Connections on CCSS. Mary E. Morningstar stated in TASH Connections (v 37, issue 1, winter 2011 p.6) that “The picture of inclusion is incomplete without supporting mechanisms…” and in this issue the authors illustrate that instruction in the CCSS is incomplete if not done within inclusive contexts. The authors see the world of education and policy is at a critical point, where the progress that educators, selfadvocates, advocates, policy makers, and others have made toward inclusive practices could be undone. Indeed, some people are reporting that schools in which inclusive educational practices were implemented well are now returning to providing services in segregated settings.

We strongly believe that the CCSS offer an opportunity for schools to reflect on the extent to which their practices match evidence-based practices, and ultimately, the degree to which


their practices result in positive outcomes for all students. Such reflection could result in schools changing their practices, to provide all students effective instruction on CCSS in general education contexts. With many states collaborating through one or more of the five federally funded consortia (i.e., PARCC, Smarter Balance, NCSC, DLM, and WIDA) to develop and implement large-scale assessments on the CCSS, a second opportunity for change is evident – an opportunity for schools to embed inclusive practices throughout their schools, thus ensuring that all students have access to the CCSS standards addressed in the assessments. In spite of this opportunity, there is the very real possibility that more schools will argue for the increased placement of students with significant support needs in segregated settings based on beliefs that these students need to learn in a different way than general education students and thus cannot be educated in the same contexts; that these students can never learn concepts and skills that comprise the CCSS; and that assessments based on the CCSS require us to teach and test students in segregated settings. Too often people cling to these arguments and invoke concern in parents, students, and even educators about implications of implementing evidence-based inclusive practices, even though research on the value of inclusive practices exists. As such, we thought it was important to bring together articles that focus on CCSS as an opportunity to expand the use of research-based inclusive practices that meet the needs of all students, as well as to articulate arguments and develop resources that support those inclusive practices in policy, in the classroom, and in life. Cheryl M. Jorgensen’s piece, “Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude” outlines considerations for local, state, and federal policies that support inclusive education, specifically with respect to teacher certification and hiring. Julia White’s article on “The Common Core State Standards and Their Impact on Least Restrictive Environment” examines the possible path of school reform related to the CCSS and implications for LRE. Mike Burdge and I present an argument and process for teaching high

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standards in the general education classroom, because we fear that the move to CCSS may push educators to believe that they must follow separate instructional scripts that are not compatible with the general education classroom. And, to make sure that we, as individuals and as an organization, stay centered on why all of this is important, Rick Creech and Linda Quintanilha share their own experiences with inclusive educational practices, presumed competence, and high expectations that we know are the crux of the issue. As Linda Quintanilha points out, “As a field we have moved beyond the idea that inclusion is just (!) socially crucial and beneficial to understand that it is also academically vital.” The CCSS provide a new opportunity, when expectations and strategies for all students are changing, let us make sure that the change is one that continues to support the inclusive practices we know make a positive difference in students’ lives.

The CCSS and The Possibilities Being faced with the prospect of teaching grade level content standards to students who have complex support needs can be a daunting prospect. Now, with many states adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the level of instruction, complexity of reading material, blending of content areas, and the bar for student achievement have all been raised dramatically. These changes are poised to alter how students are taught and assessed and how teachers are trained and evaluated. The CCSS can either open the door to more inclusive practices or serve as yet another excuse to further segregate students. We will present our arguments for how the CCSS can become a tool for developing more inclusive practices and then outline a process to support accessible instruction in inclusive settings. The work around the CCSS and the large-scale assessments that are being planned by Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), Smarter Balance, Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM), and National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) are all built on various learning models that attempt to represent how students learn new skills and build knowledge and concepts. The idea behind these models is that once there is a validated and precise model (which will require an intensive, iterative cycle of research, development and evaluation), student instruction can be targeted to a very detailed point, identifying where the student is struggling, what skills and concepts should be addressed next, and/or, if the student needs an alternate pathway to reach the end goal. The promise of these models is exciting, but there remains much work to be

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done and, in the meantime, the stage must be set so that these processes continue to support and strengthen the best inclusive practices. The danger in these models is that some practitioners may narrow the focus of instruction, using these learning models to break instruction into discrete skills that are separated from the general education context and, thus, may be seen as an argument for providing instruction in segregated settings. Yet, research tells us that: 1) students learn content best in the places where it is taught and most often that is in the general education setting (Soukup et al, 2007, Wehmeyer et al, 2003), and 2) inclusive settings have benefits for all students that include both positive effects in academic and social arenas (Moore, 2002). Looking at the intended and unintended possibilities of implementation of the CCSS for students with complex support needs, one consideration that seems to hold great promise is that teachers adopt a process for making general education lessons accessible rather than teach a separate, structured set of lessons that may at best address the CCSS but do not necessarily mirror what is happening the typical classroom. There are many ways to teach the same topic, but if inclusive instruction is the goal, we posit it is better to support the student in accessing the same lesson as everyone else rather than creating and implementing a separate lesson that has been designed specifically for students with disabilities. The reasons for this belief are that: 1) all too often specially designed lessons are not content rich or may not reflect a full understanding of the content, 2) separate lessons make it all too easy to use as a justification for separate settings, and 3) one of the key aspects of a student’s community at school is to talk about, commiserate over, and struggle with the classwork; if we take away a student’s connection to the peers’ work, we have taken away one possible social connection. Thus, building a process educators can use to work together and build rich lessons where all students are working on the same basic lesson can provide strong academic and social advantages.

One Process for Providing Instruction on the CCSS One process for accomplishing this is the Four-Step Process for Accessing the General Curriculum (Burdge, Clayton, Denham, & Hess, 2010; Clayton, Burdge, Denham, Kleinert, & Kearns, 2006). This process examines general education lesson plans,


Articles from our Contributors Teaching the CCSS: A Process for Inclusive Practices

identifies inherent barriers, and then removes or reduces those barriers so the instruction is accessible for all students. The remainder of this article shows an example of this process and demonstrates how IEP and foundational skills can be embedded within the instruction in a way that continues to support the student but maintains high expectations for making progress toward the grade level learning. In addition, this process facilitates inclusive education because all students in the classroom are involved in the same standards-based content-oriented lesson activities, materials, and strategies. The Four Step Process begins with the general education lesson, which has several benefits for inclusive practices. First, all students are working on the same overarching lesson and activities, though information may be prioritized and supported differently for individual students. Second, the special education teacher is not solely responsible for ensuring the lesson is appropriately aligned to the standard. Special education teachers are masters at making adaptations and breaking down skills but very few have the specific content knowledge and related instructional expertise that content specialists do. The content in the CCSS is more complex and nuanced than most previous state standards, so it is even easier to unintentionally go astray when building lessons. By ensuring that teachers work together as highly qualified teams, the Four Step Process helps ensure that the lessons and activities maintain the essence of the standards. It is the difference between teaching a standard/objective such as “The student will identify patterns in setting the table” where most students are working toward constructing and identifying mathematical patterns (i.e., 1, 4, 9, 16, 25…). .

Step 1 The initial step is to identify the standard(s) to be addressed and begin to deconstruct those standards in order to ensure that the teachers understand the expectations of the standard. An easy way to begin to deconstruct the standard is to start by looking for what the student needs to know and do. As a quick way to get started, one can look at the standard and identify the nouns and verbs. The nouns are what the student needs to know (mathematical patterns) . The verbs are what the student needs to do (construct and identify). Once these have been identified, they can be turned into “I can” statements to help get a clear picture of what is expected (I can identify mathematical patterns; I can construct mathematical patterns). Please note that these “I can” statements should be created with a content specialist to ensure that they maintain the construct of the standard.


Special educators are very good at taking a standard apart but occasionally they go too far taking it to the point that it is no longer recognizable to a content specialist as being connected to the original standard (rather than “I can calculate area” the I can statement becomes “I can identify a shape”). To support inclusive instruction, it is vital to maintain alignment with the construct of the standard. Here are some questions to which affirmative answers will support alignment: 1. Is it academic? 2. Would a content specialist be able to immediately see how it LEADS to and IS NECESSARY to the standard? 3. Is it a skill/concept a student within 2 years (chronological) would work toward? 4. Would a student who is not receiving services be embarrassed to walk through the halls with this work? (Flowers, C., Wakeman, S. Y., Browder, D., & Karvonen, M., 2009; Denham, A. (2010); Land, L. (2010); Denham, A. & Kennedy, S. (2010)) The answer to 1-3 must be “yes” before alignment is ensured. The answer to four should be “yes” to ensure that it is appropriate for inclusive instructional practices. The answers to questions 1-3 must be “yes” before alignment is ensured. The answer to question 4 should be “yes” to ensure that it is appropriate for inclusive instructional practices.

Step 2 In this step, the teachers need to discuss the unit outcomes that will show how students will demonstrate progress toward the standard. Here are some questions that can be used to guide this work: • What do we expect to see students do in this unit? • What performances are typically evidenced in demonstrating understanding for this unit? • What performances are necessary to demonstrate understanding in this unit? Again, these questions and answers are best addressed with a team of teachers including a content specialist (i.e., general education teacher) in order to support instruction that truly leads to the standard.

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Step 3 This step examines the activities in the lesson to identify potential barriers that may be present for a student and then to design ways to remove or reduce those barriers. A key aspect of this step is the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) construct that the lesson/activity is the barrier, not the student. In this day and age, technology and supports are available which provide flexibility for ensuring accessible instruction and giving students a voice in the instructional process. As developing instruction which provides multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement (the three main principles of UDL), Step 3 considers the information from step 2 about what is really necessary to demonstrate learning and what is not. For instance, is it necessary for a student to write a five page report on a topic, or is it more important that the student convey the important information about a topic in some way that others can understand? If the latter, then there are opportunities for students with and without disabilities to present that information using computer programs like PowerPoint and Prezi, using images, pictures, or objects, or through music or role playing. There are suddenly many more ways to present content, allow students to show what they know, and build instruction. Step 4 This step is where special educators really shine: embedding Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and foundational goals into the instruction. Teams can accomplish this goal by using an IEP matrix or map or by more informally exploring opportunities for how IEP goals and foundational skills can be included. For instance, in a lesson on mathematical patterns, there are opportunities to work on the foundational skills of number identification, more and less, one-to-one correspondence, using a calculator or 100s chart, etc. Depending on the activities within the lesson there could also be opportunities for the student to work on answering questions, using an Augmentative and Alternate Communication (AAC) to request something, asking for help, etc. And, these skills may be more meaningful and generalizable in a context that has meaning for all students in the class than as discrete skills taught in isolation.

Conclusion As states move toward full implementation of the CCSS , the special education field will have to make some conscious and thoughtful decisions about how to meet the needs of students while supporting and strengthening inclusive classroom practices.

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The consideration we believe holds great promise for both is that teachers adopt a process for making general education lessons delivered in inclusive classrooms accessible as opposed to providing instruction in special education classrooms. Even though this separate, structured set of lessons may at best address the CCSS, they cannot mirror what is happening in the typical classroom and at worst, do not provide students with instruction on grade-appropriate content standards delivered through the general curriculum. If the goal is to produce inclusive settings while providing the most effective instruction, starting with the lesson that is being taught to all students in the same setting as all students and being instructed by the same content teacher makes sense. Then the special education teacher can focus on adapting materials and instruction to support students in accessing access and progressing in those lessons rather than trying to replicate the lessons in ways and places where it is not ideal.

References Burdge, M., Clayton, J., Denham, A., & Hess, K. (2010). Ensuring access: A four-step process for accessing the general curriculum. In H. L. Kleinert & J. F. Kearns (Eds.), Alternate assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities: An educator’s guide (pp. 109-147). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. Clayton, J., Burdge, M., Denham, A., Kleinert, H., & Kearns, J. (2006). A four-step process for accessing the general curriculum for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Teaching Exceptional Children, 38(5), 20–27. Denham, A. (2010, September) Is it Reading? (Common Core Version) Denham, A., Kennedy, S. (2010, September) Is it Science? (Common Core Version) Flowers, C., Wakeman, S. Y., Browder, D., & Karvonen, M. (2009). Links for Academic Learning: A conceptual model for investigating alignment of alternate assessment systems based on alternate achievement standards. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practices, 28(1), 25-37. Land, L. (2010, September) Is it Mathematics? (Common Core Version) Moore, C. (2002). Educating students with disabilities in general education classrooms: A summary of the research. Eugene, OR: Western Regional Resource Center, University of Oregon. Soukup, J.H., Wehmeyer, M.L., Bashinski, S. M., & Bovaird, J.A. Classroom Variables and Access to the General Curriculum for Students With Disabilities. Exceptional Children 74(1). 101-120. Wehmeyer, M., Lattin, D.L., Lapp-Rincker, G., & Agran, M. (2003). Access to the General Curriculum of Middle School Students with Mental Retardation: An Observational Study. Remedial and Special Education, 24(5), 262-272.


Articles from our Contributors

The Importance of Inclusive Practices An Interview with Linda Quintanilha By Lou-Ann Land, Human Development Institute, University of Kentucky

Introduction Lou-Ann Land interviewed Linda Quintanilha, the 2011 Virginia Bowden Advocacy Award, also known as the Advocate of the Year award winner. Linda serves as the president for ABLE NH (Advocates Building Lasting Equality) and spoke with Lou-Ann about working for an inclusive education for her daughter, Mary. Mary is a 3rd grader who has autism. Mary uses a communication device and is building vocabulary but currently uses it primarily for wants and needs. Mary was in an integrated preschool through the public school system. One day Linda came in saw Mary and one of the service providers in a closet doing hand over hand ABA instruction. Linda did not have a background in special education or what is typical for instruction, but said it just “did not feel right”. She asked the preschool “What are we doing to prepare Mary for arrival in kindergarten and first grade?” The school’s response was that Mary would not go to her home school, but to the life skills program in another school. Linda went to visit the program and asked about access to the general curriculum; she was told that “they try to do that, but that some students make weird noises and the other students get distracted by that”. After about 10 minutes Linda left and went back to the preschool and informed them that her child would not go there “No, over my dead body”.

Building Inclusive Settings The Director of Special Education in the district was proinclusion, but she always got pushback from the teachers. She needed a parent to help move that agenda, and along came Linda. The Director came up with an autism program in Mary’s home school designed to support students in the gen education classroom, but had pull out room available for speech, OT, related services. When Linda was informed that Mary would be pulled out for speech and OT, she again said “No, she should not be taken out of the classroom unless she (Mary) requests it”. Teachers/service providers were not sure how else to do it, so Linda brainstormed ideas with them. Requested they try things,


if it didn’t work, come up with new ideas. Mary has not been pulled out for those services. They always found a solution/ strategy that would work in the inclusive setting. This program that was started when Mary entered Kindergarten is now being started in two more of the schools in the community. The principal of Mary’s school is going to be a travelling principal at the other two schools to help oversee the implementation of the program.

Learning Grade Specific Standards When asked “What would you say to those who argue that students with complex needs do not, cannot, or should not learn grade specific academic standards?” Linda’s reply is How do you know? With the communication issues Mary experiences, how do I know? – presume competence. You won’t know if you don’t try. It was not a priority for me that Mary learns “grade level”, but it turns out that she is on grade level in math. But my primary motive for inclusion is that I won’t live forever and Mary needs to build those community supports. She needs those natural supports you will not get in segregated settings. Mary has real bonds of friendship; kids who know her, what she likes, and what she needs. For instance, Mary is in an after school program that takes a ski trip every year. Approximately 90% of the students go, so Mary was going to go. Linda said “I don’t drive her if others parents don’t drive their children. We will find a way to make it work”. At the ski trip, Linda was booted off the table because so many kids wanted to sit with Mary. Linda instead went to sit with the special education teacher and noticed that she was crying. Linda was surprised as it was such a successful day for all the kids, including Mary. She asked why the special education teacher was crying when everything was going so well and the teacher replied “How much damage have I done to my students over the years in keeping them in the self-contained setting?” Linda assured her

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they were all on a learning curve, she did what she thought was best at the time, has learned new things, and should keep moving forward, not look back.

Benefits of Inclusion Linda outlines several reasons it is important to have Mary included in the general education classroom and having access to the full curriculum. While Linda states that this was not her primary goal, she notes that the job of the IEP team is to “make sure that Mary leaves High School college and/or career ready. Whatever she wants to do to be successful in life.” Linda does not believe Mary would be able to be successful academically, socially, or in the future without the natural supports and community of learners she has in her class. The bonds she makes now will stay with her after school and as she makes her way in the community. Linda sees an additional benefit for inclusive settings: helping people who do not have experience with people with different needs breakthrough some of their preconceived notions and instead presume competence for all people. This generation, Mary may very well be the first person with a disability many people have met, so there will be resistance, because they don’t know. The more people who come in and watch and see her work on the same things as her peers, the more they realize and it will lead to a true inclusive community. When Mary was first included in the gen ed classroom, the president of the PTO stated that Mary did not have a right to be in the same class as her son. Now she is a firm believer in inclusion.

Advice for Others For Linda the “soft approach” has been a successful one. She works to build relationships with others on the team and problem solving together. I never start with being demanding. I ask questions to get to know them and understand where they are coming from. I ask about their family, tell them about mine, and ask things like “How long have you been teaching? What made you choose this career? Or what do you want to see in your classroom?” Not all questions are easy to ask or talk about, but it helps build that relationship. You also need to allow for moments of clarity, time to think or let ideas settle in when talking.

presumed competence of Mary may seem difficult to accept. I would always say “We need to try…, so figure it out. If it doesn’t work we’ll try something else. Once we get over the hump of “oh God, she’s crazy”, then we can move on. It all comes down to building trust, in each other and ourselves. I don’t want you to think I did this single handedly. The successes I’ve had are because my goal is not just about Mary, my goal is of organizing power in the community. While Linda is pleased with the changes that have happened for Mary, she says the “greater role is not just about fighting for your child, but fighting for change in your community”. As the President of Able NH, she works with groups and has support structures. In Linda’s opinion, because people know about these additional support structures she is not seen as an isolated parent, but one with more power and thus some people may be more willing to work with her so that she can avoid the need for heavy handedness. It is easy, as a parent of a child with special needs, to become isolated but by building relationships she is able to do more good for more people. “I don’t have to be heavy handed, I have to build relationships.” Linda also commented that she would recommend to parents that they get involved in their local community and develop a network of people. You as a parent understand who (other parents/members of the community) they are, what they want, and you can help them get those met. To make change, you need to become a leader, to become a leader you need followers, you need to build a network.

Conclusion Reading Linda and Mary’s story is a powerful testament to several themes that are currently a part of the conversation around inclusive education:

You have to sit down one on one with the people on your team. Get to know them. It builds a level of trust.

1. The importance of inclusive practices that are based on a true foundation of presumed competence. Ask educators if they believe in presumed competence, and if they know what it is, they will invariably say “yes”. However, what we as parents, educators, trainers, and citizens hear and see may not support that “yes”. Some things to consider when reflecting on whether your classroom has a foundation of presumed competence:

Linda does understand that for some people her expectations and

a. Is there an expectation that all students will have access to

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Articles from our Contributors The Importance of Inclusive Practices

the same curriculum OR has someone already limited the curriculum to a select number of skills? (one of the most common statements we have heard at trainings for helping students with significant disabilities access Common Core State Standards is, that the student “can’t learn _____”. ) 2. Are principles of Universal Design for Learning at work in the classroom? For instance, if a student is having difficulty with a lesson does the team look at what barriers the lesson presents OR does the team talk about what the student can’t do? 3. The need to build systems around inclusive practices rather than individual pockets of good schools or classrooms. One of the biggest frustrations in the world of inclusive education is the fact that we have not made enough progress and that often when we make progress in one school or classroom when a particular administrator, teacher, or family leaves things slide back to how they were prior to inclusive

programming. We must start finding ways to embed inclusive education practices into school and district wide programs such as Response to Intervention, teacher evaluation, and School Improvement Plans. 4. The need for students to have access to the same curriculum with the same natural supports as everyone else in order to be successful not only in school, but also outside of school and when they graduate. 5. And finally, the academic and social benefits of inclusive practices. As a field we have moved beyond the idea that inclusion is just (!) socially crucial and beneficial to understand that it is also academically vital. Thank you to Linda for sharing her thoughts and experiences around the need for truly inclusive settings. And thank you to all the advocates out there who are working toward building inclusive settings.

Presuming Competence

By Rick Creech, Educational Consultant, PaTTAN, Harrisburg , Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network


was born in 1954 (My, that seems ages ago, now!) in rural North Carolina. I was born with severe cerebral palsy. The doctors did not expect me to live. My family and I beat those odds. You might say that my parent established an environment where beating the odds was the expectation. So, when it came to my education, no or little, was not an option.

My elementary education was in the late ‘50s and through the ‘60s. My parents home schooled me for the first, second, and the fourth grades. For the third grade, my parents were living in Raleigh, North Carolina, which allowed me to attend a special school for students with cerebral palsy. I really enjoyed that school. Along with academics, I received physical, occupational, and speech therapy, which made for a very full day. One of the challenges with this school was that it was a separate school from


the regular public schools and had less rigorous academics. My foundational belief is that, children with disabilities cannot live in a world made to accommodate disabilities, and that was what that school was. They had everything for students with disabilities, and every student there had disabilities, and I really liked it there. It was a fantastic place. However, it was not the real world. Public schools are the real world, a world where everything is not tailored to meet the needs of children with disabilities, a world where failure is a real possibility. In that special school, do you think a student ever failed? No way! The safest, easiest, and the most pleasant way, often is not the way that will make a child with disabilities stronger. Do not allow things to be impossible for a child with disabilities, however, making things artificially easy is just as harmful to that child. My parents moved after about a year to a rural area, so they had to home school me in the fourth grade. Also, it was not a continuous education process, some years I had surgery, which

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required a lengthy recuperation period. For the fifth and sixth grades, I was permitted to audit a public school classroom. I loved it, best two years of my childhood. My classmates were wonderful, they played with me, they pushed my wheelchair at recess, and they made me paper boats with which to play while the other students were working on their assignments. Since I was auditing the class, I had to wait until I got home to work on assignments plus homework that kept me busy. In my opinion, the other students learned a lot from the experience of helping me during the day. The experience was life changing for me, and I am willing to bet for the other students as well because they learned that they could help another person by doing simple things like making paper boats, or being a person’s hands playing marbles, or turning a page in a book, or pushing a wheelchair, or putting a coat on a person. I have rarely seen a child who did not want to help. Unfortunately, adults often do not encourage or find ways to let them help- so afraid that children might mess up, that adults infect children with this fear. And, yes, a couple times my wheelchair was pushed into a hole, and I got a mouth full of dirt, so what? My friends got me back into my chair, cleaned my mouth out, and we continued playingno big deal. As I said, a child with disabilities has to learn to take knocks and to knock back. The point I am making is if we put a student with disabilities in a regular classroom, we cannot treat that student as Fine China. The student needs the chance to be a regular student, who just needs a little help from friends. Every student deserves a chance of a good, balanced, and more appropriate education than what I had. A child and the family of a child with disabilities has enough with which to struggle, they should not have to struggle with the education system to get an equal education. Students with disabilities have the same right to have opportunities to learn the same things as everyone else. All children must have an education that will draw out and nourish the best in themselves. Let’s talk about fifty years ago for a minute. People tend to idealize the past. I haven’t gotten to that stage. If parents didn’t want to send a disabled child to school or the school did not accept the student, why, that was just fine. Besides what good would it be to educate us- we were just going to be institutionalized sooner or later. The only problems occurred when parents did want to educate their children with disabilities. This is assumed incompetence that we put on child. A child never thinks that he or she is not capable until an adult tells the child. Thank God, my parents never let anyone get away with that.

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We must presume competence. We cannot look into the mind of a child, and we do not know the future of a child. When we presume competence, when we expect competence, when we nourish competence, the child will be competent. Back in the ‘60s, the government did not require schools to provide access to children with disabilities; the government did not mandate schools to educate children with disabilities. The idea that children with disabilities had the right to an equal education with non-disabled peers was a long, long time coming. North Carolina thought that it was progressive when they set up a special class for students with disabilities in an old school building, across from the new school building, with sixteen students, one retired teacher, and one aide. For the 7th Grade, I made the mistake of going there. I did not see one student without a disability during the entire year I attended that class. During that year all I was given were worksheets, which I never saw again after completing them. I do not think the teacher ever graded them. There was no academic instruction. In the sixties, access was not mandated. Of course, why should it be? People in wheelchairs stayed home where they belonged. I think that the Vietnam War probably made the difference. So many young men came home in wheelchairs, but they were not prepared to remain home bound for the rest of their lives. What has changed? Attitudes have for one thing. As I mentioned, the sixties and seventies had an influx of service men coming home from Vietnam with disabilities, and these young men were not going to be written off. I believe that they forced a change in public perception. These men refused to be hidden away. They were out, about, and vocal. As a result, laws began to be written that said persons with disabilities had to be educated; persons with disabilities have to have access to buildings and businesses opened to serve the public; and people with disabilities had to be given the opportunity to learn and to work. Next, technology. The sixties and seventies started seeing technology being applied to increase what people with disabilities could do. For me, it was the electric typewriter. Today, it would be a computer, no, I am behind the times, it would be a touch tablet. But back then the electric typewriter was the latest and greatest that offered me hope of a productive future. I remember when I got my first correctable typewriter. I thought I was in heaven, because now I could type something, and it looked as good as anyone’s. That typewriter gave me my first communication; and with communication, came the belief that I could be productive. Because, you see, communication is the key that unlocks doors.


Articles from our Contributors Presuming Competence

With access and technology, people with disabilities began to be heard. We began to work; we began to attend schools, colleges, and universities. And we began to become recognized as members in the community. Public attitudes are like glaciers, it never shifts quickly; however, when it does, it cannot go back. Never again in this country will it be accepted that children with disabilities be hidden away disabled in homes or institution. Never again, folks, never ever again. I absolutely love the Internet. With the Internet, we are not limited by our physical settings. Forty years ago, the world and the people on it, were so far, far away. Communicatively, I was a boy in bubble. I could see and hear people, and people could see and hear me, but we could not communicate. I was a curiosity to them. It was attitudes, technology, and communication that ended my isolation for me and for other people with disabilities. Progress comes with changing attitudes, better technology, and effective communication. That’s the way we must go. Students with complex instructional needs must have an academic education that is on a level with their peers and, which will match the general education curriculum. My father told me once and I never forgot this. He wanted me to learn math, so that I would be able to manage my own money. He wanted me to read, so that I would be able to read and understand anything that someone might write about me, and what should be done


to and for me. And he wanted me to be able to communicate, so that I could have control over my life. My parents presumed competence in my ability to learn to do those things. They insisted that I learn. Boy, did they push me. They taught me I was competent. I was competent enough to go beyond their goals and their dreams for me. This is what great parents, great teachers, and great schools do. They inspire a child to go beyond what they presumed the child’s competencies to be and push the child into the belief that he or she is capable of accomplishing much more than the parents, teachers, schools, and the world ever dreamt possible. The best part is that you do not have to know the child’s destination. You just have to put the child on the road with a little push. My parents certainly did not have this plan 50 some years ago of me going to an university, getting a master’s degree, marrying, having children, moving to Pennsylvania, and becoming an Educational Consultant who helps students with special needs. But they presumed competence in me, that I was competent. That made me confident in my abilities. Presuming competence is important. We presumed competence in students with complex instructional needs that they are capable of learning the academic core that they will need as adults. We are also assuming competence in ourselves that we are able to teach these students the academics they will need in life, and to inspire them with confidence to live their own dreams. This is our mission, our purpose, our dream!

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Articles from our Contributors

“Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude:”1 Implications of Standards-Based Reform for General and Special Educators

By Cheryl M. Jorgensen, Ph.D., Affiliate Faculty, National Center on Inclusive Education, Institute on Disability, University of New Hampshire


magine you are the administrator of your State Department of Education teacher certification division and you are charged with leading the effort to revise educator competencies so that all teachers are prepared to provide all students with a world class education. Or you are a university faculty member who wishes that prospective general and special education teachers could learn side by side in your differentiated instruction course.

Where do you turn for guidance? Perhaps you are a principal who wants to hire teachers who are enthusiastic about and competent to teach all students to high academic standards. How do you write that job description? Maybe you are a self-advocate or parent who is a member of a state or national task force that is addressing the impact of new learning standards on students with disabilities, and general and special education teachers. You want to be sure that the values of inclusive education are not overlooked in the conversation about standards. Each of these dilemmas boils down to one question: How will the latest standards-based reform initiative – the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) – influence teacher certification, teacher education, and local school district job descriptions and roles? “The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers 1

and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. (” If we want those standards to be implemented within schools that are inclusive of all students, a momentous shift needs to occur in teacher certification requirements, in teacher education, and in local school job descriptions.

Teacher Certification Standards What do all teachers need to believe, know, and be able to do in order to teach all students to high standards within inclusive classrooms? One organization trying to answer that question is the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC), a program of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Interstate_Teacher_Assessment_Consortium_%28InTASC%29. html). InTASC developed Model Core Teaching Standards (2011), which are non-regulatory but have been adopted by many of the largest professional education organizations. The Model Core Teaching Standards are designed to be compatible with the range of nationwide teacher and leader standards currently in use as well as the CCSS in English language arts and mathematics. A theme throughout the standards is personalized learning for diverse learners. “The standards embrace the responsibility to ensure that every learner learns. This means teachers need knowledge and skills to customize learning for learners with a range of individual differences. They need to recognize that students bring to their learning varying experiences, abilities,

Tashie, C., Shapiro-Barnard, S., Dillon, A., Schuh, M., Jorgensen, C. M., and Nisbet, J. (1993) Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes: The role of the inclusion facilitator. Durham, New Hampshire: University of New Hampshire, Institute on Disability.

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Articles from our Contributors “Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude:” Implications of Standards-Based Reform for General and Special Educators

talents, and prior learning, as well as language, culture, and family and community values that are assets that can be used to promote their learning ( FAQ_2010.pdf).” Now the question that TASH members need to ask is “do they really mean all teachers of all students?” We know that there are some in our field who believe that students with the most significant intellectual disabilities can never learn highly challenging academic content so “all” is interpreted to mean “everyone except” the very students for whom TASH advocates. The most influential voice related to teacher certification standards is the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), whose special education teacher competencies guide the accreditation of many special education teacher education programs. CEC acknowledges that adoption of the CCSS will have significant impact on special educators and that their professional standards may have to be revised. “The most significant challenge will be in preparing and further developing the knowledge and skills of not only special educators, but all teachers who are sharing the instructional responsibilities for students with disabilities. If teachers do not approach [Individualized Education Plan (IEP)] development, i.e., the present level and the goals/objectives, with a sure knowledge of the grade-level standards for the student and the skill to scaffold instruction low enough [sic] to create access and high enough to reach the standard, the potential for mastery is never known or demonstrated.” ( AM/Template.cfm?Section=CEC_Today1&TEMPLATE=/CM/ ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=15269). At the present time, there is great variability across states in teacher certification standards. In New Hampshire (http://, for example, all general education teachers must meet standards related to teaching all students, including those with disabilities, such as “ensuring inclusive learning environments that allow each learner to reach his or her full potential.” Generalist special educators must demonstrate competencies that promote students’ access to general education standards in inclusive environments, such as “participate in co-teaching to strengthen learning and achievement in the general curriculum for students with disabilities.” New Hampshire certification standards for teachers of students with intellectual and other developmental disabilities also contain competencies related to accessing the general education curriculum in inclusive environments, such


as “collaborate and plan with others, including, but not limited to, parents, general education teachers, related service providers, school nurses, paraeducators, and appropriate members of the community, to develop IEP that reflect goals based on the content of the general education curriculum.”

Teacher Education Unless there is a cataclysmic change in our general and special education laws and the current separate systems of education fully merge, teacher education programs will continue to prepare both general and special educators. So within this likely reality, how can teacher education be reformed to promote high standards for all students within inclusive, general education classrooms? Ferguson (2005, p. 4) said that we should “prepare all teachers with a common core of knowledge and capacity in the theories and strategies of the teaching/learning event and then systematically expand all teachers’ capacity to use those basic skills across more and more student diversity through continuing professional development.”

How might that work in practice? Some suggestions include: • Revising departmental and program philosophies and mission statements to align with inclusive values, including the presumption of all students’ competence • Creating required or elective dual certification programs where general education teachers must meet competencies related to teaching students with disabilities and special education teachers must meet general education teacher standards • Emphasizing the benefits of and skills for collaborative work so that even if there continue to be separate general and special education teachers, they are able to work across traditional lines, combining “their talents and information…to meet the demands of student diversity in ways that retain the benefits and overcome the limits of past practice (Ferguson, 2005).”

• Co-teaching courses in the foundations of education, learning theory, curriculum design (the “what” of teaching) and pedagogy (the “how” of teaching) • Developing internship sites at inclusive schools • General and special education faculty collaborating on research projects

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Articles from our Contributors “Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude:” Implications of Standards-Based Reform for General and Special Educators

Local School District Job Descriptions and Roles Many years ago, TASH member Richard Villa was an administrator in the Winooski, Vermont school system, and he created one job description for all teachers (Table 1)(Cross & Villa, 1992. p. 225).

Table 1. Winooski Teacher Job Description – Selected Responsibilities 1. Accepts responsibility for being a member of a collegial group. 2. Accepts shared responsibility for educating all children assigned to him or her. 3. Identifies pupil needs and cooperates with other professional staff members in assessing and helping pupils solve health, behavioral, and learning problems. 4. Demonstrates an understanding of and differentiates instruction, including IEP implementation, to meet the needs of pupils with varying intellectual abilities, attitudes, and cultural backgrounds. 5. Translates lesson plans into functional learning experiences so as to best utilize the available time for instruction. 6. Emphasizes active student participation, student products, and the use of varied tools and techniques in instruction. If we updated this job description by adding language related to teaching the CCSS, using Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), it would be an effective tool for promoting joint responsibility for all students by general and special education. The job descriptions of special education teachers also need to change, reflecting a partnership with general educators and other service providers to: (a) design and teach the CCSS within inclusive classrooms to all students, including those with disabilities; (b) provide individualized supports needed to access general education curriculum and instruction; (c) create inclusive learning opportunities that lead to college and career readiness (not separate community-based instruction); and (d) use transdisciplinary and integrated models of support and service delivery (Jorgensen, 2005).

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What Can TASH Members Do Each and every TASH member – self-advocates, family members, teachers and administrators, higher education faculty researchers, graduate students – has a role to play at many levels in advocating for the changes described in this article. At the federal level, we can pay close attention to the reauthorization of both IDEA and ESEA (NCLB) and communicate our concerns and recommendations to our elected officials. Professional organizations such as National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), CEC, ASCD, and TASH will likely be considering how universal adoption of the CCSS will impact teacher certification and preparation and we can be part of their efforts by volunteering as individuals or as representatives of stakeholder organizations. We should try to embed TASH values and best practices into any upcoming revisions of CEC’s very influential teacher certification standards. States that adopt the CCSS will need to align their current teacher certification standards and we can join work groups to assure that TASH values and perspectives guide that work. Each State’s Governor’s Commission on Disability or Developmental Disabilities Council are often invited (and may be required) to participate in these groups and TASH members can volunteer. It’s important to keep our legislative representatives informed about the issue and we can do that through personal contact or by providing testimony for House or Senate education committees. Faculty researchers at institutions of higher education have an important role to play in unifying general and special education teacher education programs. Several colleges across the country, such as Syracuse University ( academic/undergraduate/inclusive_elmentary_and_special_ education/default.aspx), that have created unified programs and their curricula can inform work at other Institutes of Higher Education. Individual faculty can initiate co-teaching relationships that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries and conduct collaborative research projects. In regions or states where inclusive internship placements are few and far between we all must get involved in systems change work at the local level to create them. It can no longer be an excuse that “we don’t have inclusive schools in our area.” And finally, there are numerous opportunities to advocate for change at the local level. If you are a teacher or related service provider, ask your building or district administrator to convene a work group to review and revise teacher role descriptions. Start an


Articles from our Contributors “Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude:” Implications of Standards-Based Reform for General and Special Educators

Inclusion Task Force or join an existing Response to Intervention (RtI) team and work to insure that intensive instruction is not confused with segregation of students with significant disabilities. Help your local professional development coordinator provide training where general and special educators are learning inclusive practices side by side.

Conclusion This is a time of great concern because history tells us that we must be vigilant to assure that the current slate of educational reforms do not take us backwards but rather raise expectations for students and provide them with greater access to the general education classroom. With that concern comes an opportunity that we must seize; stay informed, educate others, and get involved.

References Council for Exceptional Children (2011). Common core state standards: What special educators need to know. Alexandria, VA: Council for Exceptional Children. Council of Chief State School Officers (2012). The common core initiative. Washington, D.C.: Council of Chief State School Officers. Cross, G. C. & Villa, R. A. (1992). The Winooski school system: An evolutionary perspective on a school restructuring for diversity. In R. Villa, J. Thousand, W. Stainback, & S. Stainback (Eds.). Restructuring for caring and effective education: An administrative guide to creating heterogeneous schools (p. 219-237). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. Ferguson, D.L. (2005). Preparing teachers for the future. Tempe, Arizona: National Institute for Urban School Improvement. Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (2012). InTASC model core teaching standards. Washington, D.C.: Council of Chief State School Officers. Jorgensen, C.M. (2006). The inclusion facilitator’s guide. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. New Hampshire Administrative Rules Ed, 500. Author’s note: Cheryl M. Jorgensen is a member of the TASH Inclusive Education Committee and an inclusive education consultant. She can be reached through her website at


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Glossary AAC

Augmentative and Alternate Communication

Ways to communicate besides oral speech. (e.g., signing, communication devices)


Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

A professional development organization for educators.


Common Core State Standards

A set of educational standards for students K-12. These standards have been developed by a group of states working together and many states have adopted them.


Council of Chief State School Officers

An organization of elementary and secondary education department leaders. “CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues.” (


Council for Exceptional Children

“The largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of individuals with disabilities and/or gifts and talents.”


Dynamic Learning Maps

One of the two federally funded consortia building alternate assessments based on the Common Core State Standards. DLM is building an assessment that will assess students throughout the year as a part of instruction.


Elementary and Secondary Education Act

Federal law that, among other things, aims to regulate equal access to education for all students and provides education funding to states. In recent years it was reauthorized as No Child Left Behind.


Free Appropriate Public Education

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, including federal funds. Section 504 provides that: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . .” ( list/ocr/docs/edlite-FAPE504.html)


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities. (


Individualized Education Plan

A written document that lists the services a student with disabilities will receive.


Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium

“…a consortium of state education agencies and national educational organizations dedicated to the reform of the preparation, licensing, and ongoing professional development of teachers. - See more at: Resources/Programs/Interstate_Teacher_Assessment_Consortium_(InTASC). html#sthash.56k3MhsT.dpuf”


Least Restrictive Environment

The setting where a child with special needs will receive an appropriate education alongside peers without disabilities to the maximum extent possible.


National Association for the Education of Young Children

Professional organization working on behalf of young children.

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National Center and State Collaborative

One of the two federally funded consortia building alternate assessments based on the Common Core State Standards. NCSC is built on a foundation of communicative competence and a system of assessment, standards and instruction.


Office of Special Education Programs

“…is dedicated to improving results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21 by providing leadership and financial support to assist states and local districts.” ( osep/index.html)


Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports

A school wide system for supporting academic and behavior.


Response to Intervention

A multi-level system of intervention that includes screening all students and providing progress monitoring and data driven decisions about student academic interventions.


Universal Design for Learning

UDL is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. (

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2013 TASH Conference Recap


he 2013 TASH Conference was a great success thanks in great part to the volunteers, the Conference and Training Committee; the Local Host Committee; presenters and attendees. 964 gathered in Chicago to make “A Movement United” a wonderful experience. We welcome our nearly 500 new members who were present at the conference and look forward to their continue support and participation.

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This truly was a “A Movement United,” as our numbers show. We had participants from almost every state in the country and the District of Columbia. In addition, we had attendees from several countries including Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Turkey.


Special Feature: 2013 TASH Conference Recap Here is the breakdown of our participants: 10.30%

Special/General Educator 14.00%

Family Member 16.10%

Student 10.40%

Government Personnel 3.00%

Public Policy 0.05%

Person with Disability

Early Intervention 0.03%

Adult Service Provider/Related Services


Other 4.00%

Professor/Researcher 17.00%

Adult Service18.00% Provider/Related Did not provide answer Services Family Member

Did not provide answer, alsoOther, diverse. The two largest 18.00% groups 4.00%

The types of presentations were represented wereAdult How to/Instruction (37%) and Research (24%), Service Provider/Related Services, followed by Story/Point of View (13%), Case Study (10%), and Structured Discussion/Debate (9%). Government Personnel 10.30%

Public Policy, 0.05%

Person with Disability Professor/Researcher

Early Intervention, 0.03%

Student, 10.40% Other, 4.00%

Family Member, 16.10%

Adult ServiceSpecial/General Provider/Related Educator Services Government Personnel, Family Member Student

Did not provide answer, 18.00%

3.00% Adult Service Provider/Related Services, 10.30%

Public Policy, 0.05%

Government Personnel Public Policy

Person with Disability, Person with Disability Early Intervention 7.12%

Special/General Educator,

Professor/Researcher, Family Member, 16.10% 17.00%

Early Intervention,14.00% 0.03%

Government Personnel, 3.00%

Student, 10.40%



Special/General Educator Student

Did not provide answer

Public Policy Person with Disability, 7.12%

Special/General Educator, 14.00%

Early Intervention Other

Professor/Researcher, 17.00%

Did not provide answer

The types of presentations were also diverse. The two largest groups represented were How to/Instruction (37%) and Research (24%), followed by Story/Point of View (13%), Case Study (10%), and Structured Discussion/Debate (9%). The types of presentations were also diverse. The two largest groups represented were Concurrent Sessions Type Breakdown2014 TASH How to/Instruction (37%) and Research (24%), followed by Story/Point of View (13%), Case Study (10%), and Structured Discussion/Debate (9%). Structured Discussion/Debate Concurrent Sessions Type 9% Story/Point of View 13% Structured Discussion/Debate 9%

Research 24%


BreakdownCase Study 2014 TASH How to/Instruction 10% Case Study Other (please specify)

Case Study How to/Instruction 10% Research How to/Instruction

Story/Point of View 13%

Research 24%

Case Study


Other 7% Other 7%

How to/Instruction 37%

Other (please specify)

Story/Point of View



Discussion/Debate Story/Point of View Structured Discussion/Debate

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Special Feature: 2013 TASH Conference Recap Wednesday The conference began a series of short-course workshops on Wednesday that gave our attendees and opportunity to dive into popular topics more in depth in half day and full day formats. Topics included Inclusive Education, Policy, Community Living, Advocacy, Customized Employment, Legal System, Professional Development, and Communication. We also had a TASH Chapter Leadership Workshop where 3 new chapters were introduced as well as 3 new emerging chapters. We were honored to have had a splendid keynote speaker line up for our opening General session. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn received TASH first annual Distinguished Service Award for championing and protecting the civil and human rights of people with disabilities. He shared the stage with Gamaliel Foundation Cofounder, Mary Gonzalez; and Author and Inclusion Advocate, Peyton Godddard. The day ended with a Welcome reception and exhibit hall where people had a chance to catch up with old friends and colleagues, and make new connections.

Thursday Thursday began with our 20 of our over 200 concurrent sessions and meetings in topics including Transition, Positive Behavior Support, Community Living, Advocacy, Employment, Communication, Human Rights, Inclusive Education, and Diversity and Cultural Competency. We also kicked off the Community Gathering Room, which covered an array of activities and topics including community building, person centered planning, and a listening sessions with U.S. Department of Labor administrators,.

On Right, Top to Bottom: Ralph Edwards, Board Member; Barb Trader, Executive Director and Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois; and Michelle Phillips, Executive Director of Family Resource Center on Disabilities and Paula Wills.

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Special Feature: 2013 TASH Conference Recap In addition, we had over two hundred people attend the Poster Presentation Session. Over 100 presenters were present and gave attendees the opportunity to access valuable content in one-onone type of environment. The night closed with the movie screening of the 2013 Positive Images in the Media Award winner, “Just Like You—Down Syndrome.”

Friday On Friday we had a well attended Association Meeting and Breakfast where seasoned and new members had a chance to share their impressions of the conference so far. We received great feedback and look forward to implementing new initiatives for the 2014 Conference. The meeting ended right in time for everyone to attend the second day of concurrent sessions. The General Closing Session was outstanding. It featured Fabricio Balcazar, researcher and promoter of inclusion for minority and under-served populations and Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries and a champion for disenfranchised people. The sessions was closed with style by members of the Washington, D.C. Local Host Committee. They invited everyone to attend the 2014 Conference to take place December 3-6 at the Renaissance DC Downtown Hotel.

On Right, Top to Bottom: Poster Presentation; Interview; Fabricio Balcazar, researcher and promoter of inclusion for minority and under-served populations; and Alisa Jackson-Gray, member of 2014 TASH Conference Local Host Committee and President of DC TASH.


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Association News New Year, New Address As of February 1, 2014, the TASH office will be located at 2013 H Street NW, Suite 715, Washington, DC 20006. The new office space is located within the National Youth Transitions Center and will provide TASH with a welcoming office space with other leaders in disability and social justice. All TASH e-mail addresses and telephone numbers will remain the same. We look forward to serving our community at this new location. Mail to: TASH 2013 H Street NW, Suite 715 Washington, DC 20006

Thanks for Attending the 2013 TASH Conference!

TASH-Backed Book Now Available What key issues and challenges affect the lives of people with severe disabilities today—and what should tomorrow’s professionals do to address them? Aligned with the core values and agenda of TASH, this visionary text prepares professionals to strengthen supports and services for people with disabilities across the lifespan. Readers will fully examine more than a dozen critical topics in the lives of people with severe disabilities; explore necessary reforms to policy and practice; and set clear goals and priorities for improving early intervention, education, health care, behavior supports, and social services. Whether used as a textbook or a professional reference, this innovative volume will help usher in a new era of services that support full inclusion and quality of life for people with severe disabilities. Preview this publication or place an order by visiting and searching for “TASH.”

TASH Seeks Candidates for Next RPSD Editor Thank you to everyone who made the trip to Chicago for the 2013 TASH Conference. It was a positive, enriching experience and we’re glad to have shared it with so many of you. A special thanks goes to our conference committee, the Chicago local host committee and numerous volunteers, without whom the conference would simply not be possible! Be sure to see our spread in this issue of Connections.

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The TASH Editorial Search Committee has begun the search for the next editor of Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities. The new editor will serve a three-year term that begins officially in June 2014. The editor of RPSD also assumes an ex officio position on the Board of Directors. Learn more about this position and how to apply at the TASH website at


Association News Mark Your Calendar for this Year’s Conference

Team Mongolia and TASH – Partners for Inclusion

We’re thrilled to host the 2014 TASH Conference right in our nation’s capital! Join us this December 3-6 at the Renaissance DC Downtown Hotel. We’ll have additional information available soon at And keep a watch for the upcoming call for proposals. See you in DC!

2014 TASH Conference December 3-6, 2014 Renaissance DC Downtown Hotel Washington DC

SWIFT Policy Brief The SWIFT Center demonstrates how schools can be transformed to provide inclusive educational opportunities for all students by assisting schools to reorganized in ways that enable them to fully deliver on inclusive, general education for all students. TASH is a strategic partner in the SWIFT Center, and we’re happy to have released the first SWIFT Issue Brief, Delivering on Equity: Implications for Decision Makers. You can view the brief by visiting

TASH Members Act to #FixWIA On Wednesday, February 5, TASH participated in a one-day advocacy blast to gain the attention of Congress concerning the Workforce Investment Act. Using the hashtag #FixWIA, TASH members and disability rights advocates around the country reached out to members of the U.S. Senate to voice objection to Section 511 of Title V of the Workforce Investment Act (S. 1356). As written, the act endorses the use of sheltered workshops for people with disabilities. We asked Senators to consider an amendment that will strike Section 511 of Title V from this act. Thank you to everyone who participated in this important effort!


TASH had the privilege to host two visitors from Mongolia in October – Tungalag and Selenge – accompanied by TASH Board member Rima Hatoum. The visit was part of an international exchange program aimed at expanding the capacity of organizations in the US and around the world to support the needs of people with disabilities. We learned a lot from Tungalag and Selenge about their work in Mongolia, and we talk in detail about the efforts of TASH members here in the US and abroad. You can learn more about the program on the TASH website at

Chris Valenti Racing to Remove the Limits In April, Chris Valenti is planning to do something that most people would never dare to do. He is going to run 150 miles across the Sahara Desert in an international, self-supported, six-day race through some of the highest sand dunes in Africa in sometimes 115 degree heat. He will be running in the highly competitive Marathon des Sables. And as if this feat alone weren’t impressive enough, Chris is doing this to promote a cause that is personal. “I’m taking this on to shine a light on an issue that’s close to my heart, and that is the right of people with disabilities to direct their own lives, to receive support when it’s needed, and to live a full life, complete with achievement, dignity and belonging,” Chris says. Chris is the father of a child with a disability, and says “I want to show him by my example that no matter what obstacles any of us face in life, we are all capable more than we think and more than we’re told to believe.” He is using his participation in this race to raise funds for TASH and support equity, opportunity and inclusion for all. Chris has set up a website to promote his efforts

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Association News ( and it includes information on the Marathon des Sables, a blog, and a link to make a donation to TASH in honor of his efforts to compete in the marathon.

TASH Board Attends European Disabilities Conference

Listen to TASH’s Barb Trader on Employment Podcast Barb Trader, TASH Executive Director, was recently the featured guest on the Griffin-Hammis Customized Employment Podcast, hosted by Cary Griffin. The two discussed current trends surrounding inclusion, transition from school to adulthood and the TASH Conference as a means to bring people together to tackle tough issues. You can listen to the full interview at

2013 TASH Award Recipients Milton Tyree Marc Gold Award for Employment

This September, four TASH Board members: David Westling, Emily Titon, Whitney Rapp, and Martin Agran, participated in the European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities conference in Istanbul, Turkey. EASPD is an organization of European Service providers for persons with disabilities dedicated to advocate for the needs of adults with disabilities so as to improve employment, residential, and other quality of life outcomes. Members of this organization come from 28 European countries, most of which are European Union members. The organization seeks to find, promote, and advance a common values-driven agenda across varying cultures, languages, and histories. Read an account of their trip to Instanbul at

TASH Members Among Ruderman Fellows

Milton Tyree will receive the award in recognition of his work as Project Director of the Supported Employment Training Project with the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky. Tyree has been working in the areas supported and customized employment in Kentucky for more than 25 years, essentially from the beginning of the supported employment movement, and has been invaluable in ensuring human services staff throughout Kentucky have access to materials and resources for systematic instruction, discovery and supported employment. Tyree, who was heavily influenced by the work of Marc Gold and Wolf Wolfensberger, seamlessly blends systematic instruction with a strong values base that supports the role of people with disabilities as full participants and contributors to their communities.

Andreas Yuan and Jason Guymon Larry J. Brumond Supportive Relationship Award

The Collaboration to Promote Self-Determination, in partnership with the Ruderman Family Foundation, has awarded fellowships to three exemplary professionals in the field of public policy for Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Among them are TASH members Colleen Thoma and Lisa Mills, who also serves on the TASH Board of Directors. The purpose of the fellowship is to advance the expertise of CPSD in public policy, and bring field experience to policy development. Congratulations to Colleen and Lisa on this achievement.

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Association News Andreas and Jason have shared a life together for more than eight years. What began as a home placement job to support Andreas collaboratively with his family, grew quickly and magically into an inseparable bond. Andreas, who experiences multiple challenges due to disabilities, considers Jason to be much more than staff. He’s a friend, and a constant companion. Andreas is fully involved in his multiple communities: neighborhood, work and advocacy. He and Jason make use of recreational opportunities, entertainment and shop- ping. Jason also works as a bouncer at a club, and Andreas posts flyers for club event. The two take the opportunity to advise businesses and concert managers on accessibility (they setup a small business consulting on accessibility for rock festivals). And they see a lot of concerts.

‘Just Like You – Down Syndrome’ Positive Images in the Media Award

Just Like You – Down Syndrome examines the lives of Elyssa, Rachel and Sam, three young people who share their likes, hopes, challenges and dreams in order to demystify misperceptions and show that people with Down syndrome are, in fact, just like you. The film was produced in collaboration with Just Like You Films and the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City, which sought to challenge viewers to move past labels in a candid and often humorous look into the lives of the three cast members, who are joined by three non-disabled peers in the film. The film depicts the lives of everyday kids who just happen to have an extra chromosome. In addition to the types of dreams, interests and activities that occupy the time of any kid, Just Like You – Down Syndrome explores what Down syndrome is, how it may impact a fellow student and ways that kids can be helpful, patient and encouraging.


‘A Chance to Shine’ Positive Images in the Media Award In the early 60’s there were some 13,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities doomed to spend much of their lives in 12 large state institutions in Michigan. A Chance to Shine is the story of how the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center (MORC) and its family of advocates fought to close these institutions by finding people homes in the community. The film shows how MORC staff, parents, caregivers and people with disabilities fought challenges against community living from angry neighbors, powerful politicians and in the courts. A Chance to Shine is the story of how thousands of people were freed from institutions, and thousands of others never had to enter them.

Dedra Hafner June Downing Breakthroughs in Inclusive Education Award (Administrator, Post Secondary Education) Dedra Hafner is recognized for creating a pilot project, The CuttingEdge program, to address the need for inclusive education in college. In doing so, Edgewood College became the first university in Wisconsin to offer inclusion for adult learners with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Hafner believes that inclusion is a matter of educational equity and quality, and that inclusive environments have positive benefits for all students. Her program focuses on academic access, shared community access and peer mentorship to foster relationships. Since implementing The Cutting-Edge program, Hafner has seen academic achievement (students currently achieve 3.0 GPA on average) and increased peer relationships with students without disabilities, and a vast number of program participants have gone on to secure employment in the community.

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Association News Mara Gonzalez June Downing Breakthroughs in Inclusive Education Award (Educator) Mara Gonzalez is an inclusion specialist with Orchard Elementary School in Rio Linda, California. Upon joining the staff at the school, Gonzalez noted two segregated classes where the school had assigned children based on their perceived intellectual challenges and multiple needs. Over the next few years, she worked to change the schools mindset about inclusion. She did so by becoming an advocate for change, and by bringing along her administrator, school psychologist and speech therapist to the TASH Conference and to the CalTASH Conference. She’s since been successful in demonstrating that all children can be included and all students can learn and make friends at school. For the past five years there have been no separate classes at the school, and all children are included for more than 92 percent of their school day and are assigned to their appropriate grade-level general education classroom. Gonzalez has been particularly successful with students who are nonverbal and have multiple challenges, ensuring that each child has a communication system and has access to the core curriculum.

Jennifer Hammer June Downing Breakthroughs in Inclusive Education Award (Administrator) Jennifer Hammer is recognized for her role as Principal of Gilpin Manor Elementary School, where she executed a five-year inclusive practices project with support from the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education. Gilpin Manor was a school for students with disabilities, and Hammer worked to fully integrate all students in their least restrictive environments, which involved working with other schools to transition students to their home schools. She was met with, but overcame, numerous barriers, including parents and teachers who struggled with the vision for how students would be fully included in the regular classroom.

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Once she developed a sense of trust among stakeholders that the needs of all students would be met, the process improved for everyone. At the end of the project, all students had been successfully included in the general education setting and students had been returned to their home schools. The results of the project have been tremendous. Student assessment scores improved in reading and in math, and qualitative data showed a dramatic improvement in social skills and behavior of the students.

Matthew Brock Alice H. Hayden Emerging Leader Award Matthew Brock grew from the experiences he shared with his sister, Lori, who has Down syndrome. At an early age, it troubled him that his sister spent much of her school day in a self-contained special education classroom, and felt it did not reflect the high expectations his family had for her. Brock resolved to contribute to improving the educational experiences of students with severe disabilities. He has since become a dually licensed general and special educator, and taught students with and without disabilities in inclusive settings. Brock is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at Vanderbilt University, where his research includes instructional and support strategies that improve outcomes for students with severe disabilities, and professional development strategies that enable educators to implement these strategies effectively.


Chapter News Arizona TASH Tenth Annual Inclusive Practices Institute 2014 Highlights Lisa O’Brien was honored with the Arizona TASH Legacy Award “Pulling for All Kids” based on her work as an educator at the Shepherd of the Desert Lutheran School. Lisa’s active support has been evident over many years and is particularly impressive considering that this is a private school and inclusive efforts are not required by federal laws. Nick Standerfer was honored with the Arizona TASH Legacy Award “Living the Inclusive Dream.” He attends Arizona State University, works with the sports teams, and hangs out with his friends, including Sean who has been his best friend since elementary school. His positive attitude and can-do spirit provide inspiration to everyone around him. One of the conference strands, I AM NORM provided students, parents and teachers with an opportunity to learn about and participate in an initiative that is designed and driven by young people. Kristin Dougherty and Kat O’Brien facilitated this strand. Jennifer Stonemeier gave a keynote that informed and updated the conference attendees about TASH’s work. Family members Kathy, Steve and Dominique Freeman shared their story of Dominique’s journey from self-contained classes to be fully included with her peers. She is continuing this journey as she has been accepted to attend the University of Arizona beginning in the Fall of 2014. Also, Mini Alvarez introduced us to her sister Norma and shared her family’s struggles as they worked through the many decisions that lead to her sister leading an independent life. She included the anger, mistakes, anguish, frustration, support, networking and techniques encountered in this journey.


Keeping it Local: We highlighted the expertise that is available in Arizona because of all our keynotes and presenters with the exception of Jennifer Stonemeier were Arizonans. Our attendees learned that inspiring and knowledgeable presenters are all around them. We can make a difference in Arizona. Networking was widespread. Many people and organizations made new connections and are moving forward with plans to collaborate on their shared visions.

Become a “TASH Professor” …and you and your students will experience the benefits of the nation’s foremost professional and advocacy organization promoting equity, opportunity, and inclusion for people with disabilities since 1975!

What is a TASH Professor?

• A TASH Professor is one who teaches or works in a postsecondary institution (university, college, community college) and who incorporates TASH values into the learning of his or her students through various learning venues (e.g. classes, seminars, practicum supervision, etc. • A TASH Professor may be of any discipline that has an impact on people with disabilities and their families. • A TASH Professor is an active member of TASH who encourages TASH membership for his or her students. • A TASH Professor shares his or her expertise with anyone interested in or committed to promoting TASH values. • A TASH Professor is an expert who uses and contributes to the understanding of people with disabilities and their families.

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What are the benefits of being a TASH Professor?

• You must be willing to participate in the TASH Professors’ virtual network to share your expertise with others in the network.

• TASH Professors have access to all TASH archived webinars at discounted prices that can easily be incorporated into their seminars or presentations!

Explanation of two key practices:

• TASH Professors receive discounts to all TASH conferences when they attend with five or more students!

• TASH Professors form a virtual network and have electronic access to other TASH Professors who can participate in seminars and conduct class presentations without charge on an “as available” basis! • TASH Professors’ students are eligible to submit their field-based projects related to working with individuals with disabilities or their families and become eligible for the TASH Applied Learning Award given at the Annual TASH Conference. • TASH Professors are valued members of their TASH state chapter (when available) where they can develop face to face networks and influence state policy and practices. • And of course, TASH Professors will receive cutting-edge information through TASH publications including RPSD and Connections!

How do you become a TASH Professor?

• You must join or continue your membership in TASH at the “premium” level and indicate in your membership profile that you are a TASH Professor • You must maintain a roster of at least five students who are student members in TASH and update your roster once a year.

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The TASH Professor Virtual Network. TASH Professors will be aware of each other and each other’s expertise. When TASH Professors are teaching relevant courses or seminars, they may invite other TASH Professors to participate. Participation will usually occur electronically. For example, courses on line may invite a TASH Professor to join a synchronous discussion, or to respond to questions submitted on-line by students. Face to face course may invite a TASH Professor to participate through a teleconferencing system. Of course live presentations may also occur if the two TASH Professors can agree to the arrangements. All TASH Professors can allocate their time in the network as they deem appropriate, but must agree to one appearance per year if requested. The TASH Applied Learning Award . Students of TASH Professors who are student members of TASH may submit an application to be considered for the TASH Applied Learning Award which will be presented at the annual TASH conference. The award will be based on the successful completion of a fieldbased experience with an individual with a significant disability or an individual’s family. The application will include a 2 to 3 page paper describing the practice and the results, a letter from the TASH Professor endorsing the experience, and may also include a brief video. For more information, please contact Rick Green –


Membership Application Effective June 15, 2012 q New Membership q Membership Renewal

Referred by ____________________________________________

Member Type: q Individual q Organization (org. member name): __________________________________________________ First Name: ____________________________ Last Name: ____________________________ Address: ____________________________________________________________________ City/State/ZIP: _______________________________________________________________ Country: ______________ Phone 1: ________________________________ q Primary

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Phone 2: ________________________________ q Primary

E-mail 2: ________________________________ q Primary

(Organization Members Only) Are you the primary contact? q Yes q No Primary Contact Name: ________________________________________________________ Phone: ________________________________ E-mail: ________________________________

Membership Level TASH offers membership at a variety of levels. Please review the details below and choose the membership level that is appropriate for you. Individual and organizational memberships are available. Membership is valid for a 12 month term. A complete summary of member benefits can be found at Basic $30

Standard $75

Premium $150

Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, the official TASH research journal (print copy)

Student * $45


Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, (online access to current and archived issues)

Small Org $250

Large Org $350








Connections, the quarterly magazine written by and for TASH members (includes current and archived issues)







TASH in Action bi-weekly e-newsletter







Training discounts for webinars, publications and other offerings







Reduced registration rates for TASH Conference and events







Affiliation with a TASH Chapter







Advocacy Alerts & Updates







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*Student members are required to identify university: _____________________________________________________________ _


-Continued on Next Page-

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Demographic Information (optional) Which of the following best describes you? (select all that apply) q Person with Disability

q Family Member

q Adult Service Provider/Related Services

q Student

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q Other ___________________________________ What is your race or ethnicity? (select all that apply) q American Indian or Alaska Native q White/Caucasian

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Are you affiliated with a university? If so, please specify: ___________________________________________________________ Please indicate your areas of interest (select all that apply) q Community Living

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q Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

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Payment Information Credit Card (select card type) q American Express q MasterCard

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Card #: __________________________________________ Expiration: ______________ Name on Card: __________________________________________ CVV: ______________ Authorized Signature: __________________________________________ Would you like to make a tax-deductible donation to TASH? q $10

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Total Payment (add membership total and donation, if applicable) $: ______________ Please submit this membership form via mail, fax or e-mail. With questions, contact (202) 540-9020. Please submit this membership form via mail, fax or e-mail. With questions, contact (202) 540-9020. TASH Fax (202) 540-9019 TASH 2013 H Street, NW, Suite 715 E-mail 1001 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 235 Fax (202) 540-9019 Washington, DC 20006 Washington, DC 20036 E-mail to learn more about TASH to log in to the membership portal for an overview of member benefits

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Equity, Opportunity and Inclusion for People with Disabilities since 1975 TASH is an international leader in disability advocacy. Founded in 1975, TASH advocates for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs – those most vulnerable to segregation, abuse, neglect and institutionalization. TASH works to advance inclusive communities through advocacy, research, professional development, policy, and information and resources for parents, families and self-advocates. The inclusive practices TASH validates through research have been shown to improve outcomes for all people.

Policy Statement It is TASH’s mission to eliminate physical and social obstacles that prevent equity, diversity and quality of life for children and adults with disabilities. Items in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect attitudes held by individual members of the Association as a whole. TASH reserves the right to exercise editorial judgment in selection of materials. All contributors and advertisers are asked to abide by the TASH policy on the use of people-first language that emphasizes the humanity of people with disabilities. Terms such as “the mentally retarded,” “autistic children,” and “disabled individuals” refer to characteristics of individuals, not to individuals themselves. Terms such as “people with mental retardation,” “children with autism,” and “individuals who have disabilities” should be used. The appearance of an advertisement for a product or service does not imply TASH endorsement. For a copy of TASH’s publishing and advertising policy, please visit

w Individualized, quality supports in place of congregate and

segregated settings and services

w Legislation, litigation and public policy consistent with the

mission and vision of TASH

The focus of TASH is supporting those people with significant disabilities and support needs who are most at risk for being excluded from society; perceived by traditional service systems as most challenging; most likely to have their rights abridged; most likely to be at risk for living, working, playing and learning in segregated environments; least likely to have the tools and opportunities necessary to advocate on their behalf; and are most likely to need ongoing, individualized supports to participate in inclusive communities and enjoy a quality of life similar to that available to all people. TASH has a vision of a world in which people with disabilities are included and fully participating members of their communities, with no obstacles preventing equity, diversity and quality of life. TASH envisions communities in which no one is segregated and everyone belongs. This vision will be realized when: w All individuals have a home, recreation, learning and

employment opportunities

w All children and youth are fully included in their

neighborhood schools

w There are no institutions w Higher education is accessible for all w Policy makers and administrators understand the struggles of

TASH Mission & Vision As a leader in disability advocacy for more than 35 years, the mission of TASH is to promote the full inclusion and participation of children and adults with significant disabilities in every aspect of their community, and to eliminate the social injustices that diminish human rights. These things are accomplished through collaboration among self-advocates, families, professionals, policy-makers, advocates and many others who seek to promote equity, opportunity and inclusion. Together, this mission is realized through: w Advocacy for equity, opportunities, social justice and human


w Education of the public, government officials, community

leaders and service providers

w Research that translates excellence to practice


people with disabilities and plan – through laws, policies and regulations – for their active participation in all aspects of life

w All individuals have a way to communicate and their

communities are flexible in communicating in alternate ways that support full participation

w Injustices and inequities in private and public sectors are


w Practices for teaching, supporting and providing services to

people with disabilities are based on current, evidence-based strategies that promote high quality and full participation in all aspects of life

w All individuals with disabilities enjoy individualized supports

and a quality of life similar to that available to all people

w All individuals with disabilities have the tools and

opportunities to advocate on their behalf

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TASH Connections: Voume 39 Issue 1  

Exploring the Common Core State Standards

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