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Building an Engaging and Inclusive School Community
Today’s schools follow an inclusive classroom model, but oftentimes students are put in schools with programs that aim to meet their needs but are unintentionally isolating them. With the number of students on the autism spectrum growing, schools need to do more than just include students in the general education classroom. This presentation will discuss how to build a school culture that supports the whole student by recognizing barriers and understanding behavior as communication that is an exchange of ideas, thoughts, and feelings. A culture that encourages an open mindset with flexible thinking enhances cooperative support from peers, faculty, and staff in supporting students on the autism spectrum and is fundamental to learning and developing relationships. Taylor Fabrega and Carol Rose will share the results from their first year PEPSA project and discuss what they will be doing this year with diversity presentations, professional development, a resource library, and using video modeling with social skills groups. Jamie Morris, a speech pathologist, has joined their project and brings a passion for helping young people find their best way to communicate to understand and be understood. Videos, visual supports, and resources will be shared that were used to build their school community.
As a result of this acivity, participants will be able to:
- Identify barriers to an engaging and inclusive school culture.
- Describe how using visual supports helps students develop self-regulation skills.
- Discuss the steps to develop a school culture that is truly engaging and inclusive rather than just accepting of students with autism.
About the Presenter
Carol Rose is a K-2 resource teacher at Sealey Elementary School in Leon County. She is a second year PEPSA Partner who strives to seek out continuing education that will benefit herself, her colleagues, and her students. Carol started out in the hospitality industry and had a successful career with the Disney Corporation. She changed her career focus when her son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Carol understands the challenges and needs of both teaching and parenting a child with autism, sharing this insight with parents and colleagues to support students in the classroom as well as at home. Carol graduated from Florida State University earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in exceptional student education with a specialization in high incidence disabilities and an endorsement in ESOL. During her studies at Florida State, she worked with Dr. Al Otaiba on a research grant with the Florida Center for Reading Research working throughout Leon County on reading interventions. Becoming involved in research helped her understand the connection between studies, data, and practice. This is reflected in her continuing drive to stay abreast of the latest advances in education and implement them in the classroom.