By Pat and Diane Goddard

By 1991, Peyton Goddard, then 16, had had enough of segregation. The finale was five years in the most restrictive educational private school placement San Diego schools had to offer. “Institutions, defined by me are any place that all people are not included Peyton writes so they can better live the wonders of creation.”

She began the road back into the community led by two teachers who introduced Peyton and her family to TASH via its newsletters. Although Peyton is nonverbal and in perpetual motion when not actively intellectually engaged, these teachers began to build inclusive opportunities for her in general education classrooms, at first on a high school campus and later a local college campus.

TASH and its principles changed Peyton’s life. In 1995, she and her supporters stood together on stage in San Francisco to receive the TASH Collaborative Advocacy Award. In 1997, three months prior to leaving the school district, she was accommodated to use the strategy of facilitated communication and began to ask for a real education.

In fall 1998, Peyton enrolled in the child development program at Cuyamaca Community College in East San Diego. Four years later she graduated as class valedictorian with complete fulfillment of all academic responsibilities and a 4.0 GPA in her general studies major. She had recently moved into her own apartment, supported by San Diego Regional Center’s Supportive Living model. Today Peyton is a poet and writer espousing all persons as “vastly valuable.” 

This article originally appeared in a document published by TASH in 2008 called When Everyone Is Included. For more information on the important work TASH does please visit their website and follow them on Twitter. This is the fifth article in a series. The first article can be found here, the second can be found here, the third can be found here, and the fourth can be found here.