Every year, I intend to add to the collection of seasonal “gift guides” and tailor it to inclusionists who are promoting inclusive practices where they live, work, and play. Here are my suggestions for the perfect gift for the inclusionist in your life.

(This post contains affiliate links.)


Books

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite gift, books! Here are some recommendations for your new favorite book to read or gift.

Fully Included Stories to Inspire Inclusion Paperback by Michelle Tetschner & Stacy Tetschner

Inclusion is about belonging. We all just want to belong-in our schools, and in our communities. Children with Down syndrome or other learning abilities are the same-they just want to be loved, have friends and a place to belong. #MoreAlikeThanDifferent We have gathered inspiring stories from families, teachers, educators and even principles who believe in our children. They understand that all children have strengths and talents and that everyone is capable of learning. We hope these stories will inspire people to look beyond the diagnosis, to see the person and the strengths we each have within us. We hope these stories will help bring awareness to the gifts that we each have, and that they just need to be nurtured to grow.

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Scoot Over and Make Some Room: Creating a Space Where Everyone Belongs Paperback by Heather Avis

Author and Instagram star Heather Avis has made it her mission to introduce the world to the unique gifts and real-life challenges of those who have been pushed to the edges of society. Mama to three adopted kids – two with Down Syndrome – Heather encourages us all to take a breath, whisper a prayer, laugh a little, and make room for the wildflowers. In a world of divisions and margins, those who act, look, and grow a little differently are all too often shoved aside. Scoot Over and Make Some Room is part inspiring narrative and part encouraging challenge for us all to listen and learn from those we’re prone to ignore. Heather tells hilarious stories of her growing kids, spontaneous dance parties, forgotten pants, and navigating the challenges and joys of parenthood. She shares heartbreaking moments when her kids were denied a place at the table and when she had to fight for their voices to be heard. With beautiful wisdom and profound convictions, this manifesto will empower you to notice who’s missing in the spaces you live in, to make room for your own kids and for those others who need you and your open heart. This is your invitation to a table where space is unlimited and every voice can be heard. Because when you open your life to the wild beauty of every unique individual, you’ll discover your own colorful soul and the extraordinary, abundant heart of God.

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Eli, Included Paperback by Michelle Sullivan

ELI, INCLUDED is a children’s picture book about a boy named Eli who has Down syndrome. This book is perfect for any classroom, whether there is a child with Down syndrome in the class or not. This book is to help the next generation see that everyone has value and something to offer.

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Your Special Education Rights: What Your School District Isn’t Telling You Hardcover by Jennifer Laviano & Julie Swanson

The definitive guide for parents of children with disabilities is out. This book is authored by two special education experts and draws on decades of experience from the front lines of special education advocacy. The authors, Jennifer Laviano and Julie Swanson, detail a strong, practical, and results oriented perspective that helps parents cut through the fog of special education to get the services their children deserve. Your Special Education Rights provides parents with vital information and specific guidance to address key challenges – including How to respond to special education “urban legends” like your child is “too smart” for services; how to avoid “toothless” language in a special education plan; and overcoming discrimination and low expectations. The book also explains why now, more than ever before, parents must be vigilant to protect children’s rights – and how recent Supreme Court case law and changes at the federal level impact children with disabilities.

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Inclusion in Action: Practical Strategies to Modify Your Curriculum 1st Edition by Nicole Eredics

How can K–12 educators break down the barriers to full inclusion and teach all learners effectively? Curriculum modifications are the key—and Nicole Eredics is the expert! A seasoned educator and creator of popular blog The Inclusive Class, Eredics introduces you to the what and how of inclusion in this motivating, reader-friendly guidebook. You’ll start with a big-picture guide to creating an inclusive culture in your classroom and school, with invaluable guidance on key topics like team collaboration, universal design for learning, co-teaching, social-emotional supports, and accommodations. Then you’ll get 40 specific, teacher-tested strategies to modify your curriculum for students who work below grade level. Ready to use in your classroom right away, each strategy comes with student goals, simple step-by-step directions and implementation tips, suggested interventions and extensions, and samples of authentic student work that illustrate the strategy in action.

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Wearables

Want a gift that you or your loved one can wear? Check out this collection of shirts, hoodies, and hats that any inclusionist would love to have.

Movies

There are popular films that show the triumphs and challenges of disabled people. There are also lesser-known films that feature actors who actually have disabilities. These actors bring something to the role that a non-disabled person could not.

Here are some recommended films that feature disabled actors in a prominent role.

The Peanut Butter Falcon (DVD)

Emmy winner Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, and Zack Gottsagen star in “a modern-day Mark Twain fable that will melt your heart” (Flickering Myth).

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Intelligent Lives (DVD)

From award-winning filmmaker Dan Habib comes INTELLIGENT LIVES, a catalyst to transform the label of intellectual disability from a life sentence of isolation into a life of possibility for the most systematically segregated people in America. INTELLIGENT LIVES stars three pioneering young American adults with intellectual disabilities Micah, Naieer, and Naomie who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college, and the workforce. Academy Award-winning actor and narrator Chris Cooper contextualizes the lives of these central characters through the emotional personal story of his son Jesse, as the film unpacks the shameful and ongoing track record of intelligence testing in the U.S. INTELLIGENT LIVES challenges what it means to be intelligent, and points to a future in which people of all abilities can fully participate in higher education, meaningful employment and intimate relationships.

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Including Samuel (DVD)

Before his son Samuel was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, photojournalist Dan Habib rarely thought about the inclusion of people with disabilities. Now he thinks about inclusion every day. Shot and produced over four years, Habib’s award-winning documentary film, Including Samuel, chronicles the Habib family’s efforts to include Samuel in every facet of their lives. The film honestly portrays his family’s hopes and struggles, as well as the experiences of four other individuals with disabilities and their families. Including Samuel is a highly personal, passionately photographed film that captures the cultural and systemic barriers to inclusion.

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Keep the Change (DVD)

When David is mandated by a judge to attend a social program, he is sure of one thing: he doesn’t belong there. But when he’s assigned to visit the Brooklyn Bridge with Sarah , sparks fly and his convictions are tested. Their budding relationship must weather Sarah’s romantic past, David’s mother (Jessica Walter), and their own pre-conceptions of what love is supposed to look like.

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Wretches & Jabberers (DVD)

Oscar winner and twice Academy Award nominated filmmaker, Gerardine Wurzburg, directed the compelling feature documentary WRETCHES & JABBERERS. This inspiring documentary chronicles the world travels of disability rights advocates, Tracy Thresher and Larry Bissonnette, in a bold quest to change attitudes about the intelligence and abilities of people with autism. ‘Our goal was to shine a light on autism internationally. Larry and Tracy s journey allowed us to portray the global face of autism through the personal stories of six men and women throughout the world,’ said Producer and Director Gerardine Wurzburg. The result is a provocative mixture of advocacy, personal portrait and travel adventure film – seasoned with liberal doses of humor. Until the 1980s, most children and young adults with autism in the US were excluded from normal schooling. Some were placed in mental institutions. Like many children with autism, Tracy and Larry grew up unable to speak. They faced a future of social isolation in adult disability centers. When Tracy was 23 and Larry 34, their lives changed when they learned to communicate by typing. Larry notes, “nothing I did…convinced people I had an inner life until I started typing.” In the film, Tracy and Larry take to the road to promote awareness of the hidden intelligence in those who face speech and communication challenges, connecting with others like them across the globe who struggle to find a means of expression. Tracy, Larry and their support team, Harvey Lavoy and Pascal Cheng, visit Sri Lanka, Japan and Finland, giving interviews and presentations and learning about the lives of people with autism in these countries. Viewers share in their eye-opening experiences as the men negotiate the terrain of travel, culture and new friendships on what they aptly named The World Intelligence Magnified Tour.

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Home & Office

Everyone loves a good mug right? Here are some items for your home or office that will surely catch someone’s eye and start a conversation.

Think Inclusive Magnet

The last item I wanted to highlight is out limited edition Think Inclusive 3″ magnet which features an image of a brain with a rainbow coming out the side. It is currently on sale for $1.99 (regularly $5.00) and it won’t last long.


Thanks for checking out the list! Let us know if there are products that you would like to see us offer or if you have an idea of a resource we missed.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash