2020 TASH Conference Opening Plenary

Updated: Jun 22, 2021

On Dec. 2, 2020, Dr. Carol Quirk presented “Creating a Culture of Inclusion: Why it’s important and how to get started” at the 2020 TASH Conference.



Audio Transcript

Michael Brogioli (00:00):

I have a nice task here today to kick off our opening plenary, “Creating a Culture of Inclusion: Why it’s Important.” And we have an outstanding keynote speaker, Dr. Carol Quirk. Carol is the founder and chief executive officer of the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education, MCIE. For the last 30 years, Carol has worked with States, districts, schools, and families to promote inclusive education practices, including the design and implementation of the MCIE school transformation process resulting in systemic change in over 100 schools and the inclusion of hundreds of children with disabilities, especially those with extensive support needs. Carol not only works in our region here in the mid Atlantic, but across the country and indeed around the world. She’s helped promote inclusive education in places such as Russia, Kazic Stan and Vietnam.


Michael Brogioli (00:58):

Carol received her doctorate from Johns Hopkins University her master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Connecticut — go Huskies. And she has served in a variety of roles prior to her current role, including as a teacher of students with autism in Connecticut, a psychologist in a community living agency serving adults with developmental disabilities, and as a technical assistance director for early intervention programs in North Carolina among other things. Carol also served on the president’s committee for people with intellectual disabilities in 2011 and 2012. And she served on the task board of directors from 2006 to 2012, including two years as our president. So it’s great to have Dr. Carol Quirk. Carol, the floor is yours. We’re anticipating about a half-hour of remarks, and then a bit of time for questions at a quick Q&A at the end. So thank you and welcome. And we’re so glad you’re joining us.


Carol Quirk (01:55):

Thanks so much, Michael. I’m going to share my screen now, but it says I can’t do this unless the other screen is unshared. So I’m going to begin (and hopefully I’ll be able to share shortly) talking about the culture of inclusion and how to create a culture of inclusion, not just in schools, but in any community that you might be in. Now as a TASH member, all of you here as TASH members, you might be thinking, “Well, of course, we’re all here for inclusion, each and every one of us.” But do we actually experience a culture of inclusion? And I would say that many people don’t have that experience. So what I want to do is set kind of a framework in your mind for how we think about inclusive experiences and then not only why it’s important, but some steps to get started.


Carol Quirk (02:46):

So the first thing is to think about where. So, communities are where inclusion occurs. So if you think about where you live: the home in which you live, the geography in which you live. Could be a city, a suburb, it could be a rural community in Iowa, it could be a suburb of Chicago. It could be New York city or Los Angeles. Your community, your neighborhood can be wide, or it can be small, but within your community are a variety of opportuninites for you to engage. You may worship in a church or synagogue. And does that community accept you into that physical space and the social space? In your neighborhood school or the school you would go to if you didn’t have a disability, does that school welcome you in? And do you access all of the physical and social spaces within that environment?


Carol Quirk (03:40):

The same for employment, the same for the marketplace in your community, where you may want to use restaurants when we don’t have COVID and places where you may want to recreate. I added family in there because for people who have differences from the norm they may not always be accepted by extended family members. And so I think being welcomed into homes is also a part of thinking about where inclusion occurs. The thing is, though, when we think about these spaces, we’re thinking about a physical environment in which there occurs a social environment. And inclusion cannot occur if you’re not there. So the baseline for inclusion is physical presence, but we all know that physical presence in and of itself is insufficient to be included. How many times have any of you heard, “Well, inclusion doesn’t really work.” Well, I would say if inclusion doesn’t work, then it wasn’t inclusion.


Carol Quirk (04:39):

And so we’re going to talk a little bit about what makes a space inclusive. When we think about measuring inclusion we don’t have a lot of good measures. I’m just going to go back a minute. When we think about that space when we want to think about the measurement we can think about percent of people that are employed, percent of people accessing healthcare, percent of children with disabilities who are physically placed in gen ed settings. Because I’m in the education world, I am going to be talking a little bit more about school inclusion, but the things that I talk about I think can be applied to any of those spaces. So let’s look at the measure that we have for children with disabilities.

Carol Quirk (05:24):

For those of you who may not be acquainted with education measures for every child with an IEP. On the IEP, the team specifies the number of minutes, the actual number or percent of minutes that a child is in general settings or removed from general ed settings. And the term we need to think about is “removed from” — does not have access to. This is the most recent national data, and it is ranks our States and territories by the percent in which students with disabilities are placed in regular or general ed classes 80% or more of the day. And so you can see that there’s a wide variety and 64% on an average is not very high. What that means is of all children, each and every one with a disability, only 64% are receiving their education in general ed with their peers 80% or more of the day. And some of our States persistently are not including students. Hawaii, New Jersey, New Mexico, Montana are among our states that have the lowest rates of placement.


Carol Quirk (06:36):

Now I’m not going to call this inclusion, even though it’s the only measure we have, because it’s really only a measure of physical presence. Now I pulled out a couple of data points of students because you can get this based on a disability label. Now watch this. This is learners with autism. When you look at the rate of participation in general ed settings, it goes down for that population. Less than 40% of our children and youth in our school systems in this country participate in general education alongside their non-disabled peers almost all day. They are otherwise removed and receive instruction in special places that are segregated from their peers.


Carol Quirk (07:23):

Now, the next slide is going to show you children with intellectual disability. And this is a shame because what this is telling us is not just that these children are not included. They’re not there. They’re not placed in, they’re not in physical spaces where they’re participating alongside their peers. The higher rates of participation are, frankly, in the territories, in the Pacific islands. Iowa, Vermont, Kentucky, and Alabama consistently rate on the higher end. But you can see for our children with intellectual disabilities, it’s still not very high.

Carol Quirk (08:00):

So when we think about physical presence and being here, we’re thinking about being welcomed. And this is not a framework that I have made up, I’m relying heavily on my colleague, Cheryl Jorgensen, who most of you know or have heard of, and the books that she published on her own or with Michael McShane and Rae Sonnenmeier. And what they talk about is that inclusion is beyond access. It’s beyond participation. That’s just the base for inclusion to occur. So when we think about the next level, the layer on, we’re going to think about membership and a sense of belonging.


Carol Quirk (08:39):

And this I’m going to focus on a little bit more because this is so important. This is like a gateway. If you think about your own participation, whoever you are in any community, in a church community in a school community, employment community. You can think if you are in a school district at the district level, the district office and the people in your building is a community. In a school house, that’s a community. You can think of a state and a state agency, that is a community. And are we truly members and feel a sense of belonging in those communities? Interestingly, the research around membership and belonging most of it that I have found is in employment settings and in college campuses. The authors of these this research, mostly come from psychology and neuroscience, and they describe belonging and inclusion as being centered on gaining acceptance, attention, and support from members of a group. As well as providing the same attention to other members. So it’s a give and take.


Carol Quirk (09:48):

There was a study that was done by John Larmer and Lambert, and they found that a sense of belonging gives a sense of meaning to lives. And this is important because people who feel meaning in life are more likely to have good psychological health and physical health than those who are feeling like their life has less meaning. There was a study done by Ted Ogden at teacher’s college in Columbia University. And he conducted this with college students. So college age, 19 to 22, and he found that those students who had a greater sense of belonging, had greater feelings of value, and greater confidence in themselves. And he found that when there was a sense of what he called “belonging uncertainty,” there was a greater feeling of stress, lower engagement in activities in the college community, and lower achievement in academics over time.


Carol Quirk (10:44):

Now, granted, this is a college campus with students who may not have disabilities. But if you think about the age group, that’s not that far different from high school students. And why would we think that people who don’t have an identified disability would have a different desire or sense of belonging than somebody who does have a disability? The key message that a lot of these researchers described is that the members of a community are communicating, “You are not alone. You belong to us. You are one, and you are a part of us.” The markers of belonging and meaningful inclusion, and this was described by Eric Carter in a talk that he gave to a congregation. Eric, as many of you know, has done a lot of research related to inclusion in the faith community, as well as social inclusion.


Carol Quirk (11:39):

And he said, “the markers of belonging and meaningful inclusion are the same for all people. The core needs are not different, but the supports we have to provide to support people are different.” So if you think about that in which you may belong, or the number of communities as members of that, if we are truly looking to promote membership and belonging, we are looking at each other, getting to know each other on a personal basis and intentionally thinking about how we can support each other to belong and participate. So participation is the next level with a sense of membership and a sense of belonging, we will be able to participate meaningfully.


Carol Quirk (12:24):

So in a school setting, we’re going to see this in the way that students are placed in a classroom. If any of you have been in schools where there’s an effort to include, but there’s a student with maybe perhaps extensive support needs, and the teachers don’t really know what to do. The student may use a wheelchair or an assistive communication device and placed at the edge of the class, near the doors. They can make a quick escape or get out early. There’s not a sense of participation there in that physical space. Kids may talk to them, but if they’re not participating in the middle of that room in a meaningful way in the content available to everybody else, there’s not a sense of inclusion. Now, a study that I saw indicated that students who believe they have a voice in school are seven times more likely to be academically motivated than those who do not feel they have a voice. So as we’re moving from membership to participation, what we’re going to think about is the extent to which we are actually engaging with each other. Are we listening, not only supporting as needed, but are we listening to the voice of the person that we’re supporting?


Carol Quirk (13:39):

Are we collaborating with that person and with our other members of the community to very intentionally identify ways that we can provide the supports to enable that person to be a meaningful member and participant in our community. So if we have that, if we’re physically present, we have a sense of belonging. Consequently, we’re engaging in a meaningful way. Then we achieve our outcome. We’re learning, we’re earning. And we’re contributing. Now in some of the schools that I have worked with the conversation around inclusion says from the educators, “Well, if they’re going to be included, we want to make sure that they’re learning, because if they’re not learning at the rate we think they should learn, then maybe inclusion isn’t working.” And what I would say back is that you’re skipping two important steps. You have to move from being physically in the room and in the school and in the setting to membership and belonging, because if you don’t have that, participation and learning are going to be more difficult.

Carol Quirk (14:49):

So here we have a lot of different ways, which we see children with a variety of disabilities being present, being engaged and being members of their community. Now, there was another piece of research that I thought was really interesting from neuroscience. And they looked at how belonging was important to people and how the social interactions occur in the brain. What happens with positive social interactions. And there is an area in the prefrontal cortex that apparently lights up when you have these positive social connections. And since I’m not a doctor and a researcher there, I can’t explain it more than that. But these connections motivate us to work together and form reciprocal, social relationships.


Carol Quirk (15:38):

What was interesting also is they looked at a sense of inclusion and they actually did this experiment where it was adults and they were playing ball. And one person was intentionally excluded from having access to the engagement in this ball play. And what they found was that when a person was excluded and felt excluded, it lit up the pain center of the brain. So the pain we feel when we’re experiencing physical pain is the same sensation, or it’s lighting up the same area of the brain, when we feel emotional pain from exclusion. And they concluded that the pain of rejection or humiliation is just as real as physical pain. So I think we’re building a picture here of why inclusion is important for our overall wellbeing. When people are included, they’re happier, they experience less stress and depression. They have more positive social relationships. They have better academic performance and motivation and ultimately experience more pleasure in life.


Carol Quirk (16:50):

So what about a culture of inclusion? We have to move beyond including a person, whether it’s a person in the workplace, a person in our church, community, a person in our school person in a restaurant, of course we have to do those things, but wouldn’t it be better to build a culture of inclusion where diversity and uniqueness was celebrated? There was another study that I found that looked at uniqueness. Actually it was a study that was looking across culturally and international settings. And they found that uniqueness and feeling included happened simultaneously. In other words, inclusion in a community where there’s shared interest, doesn’t require everyone to be the same. That in a truly inclusive community, you not only share interests and common understandings and shared experiences, but you also value the uniqueness of the individuals and the differences that they bring.


Carol Quirk (17:51):

So diversity is a part of inclusion, but certainly not the whole thing. So I went back as I was thinking about culture and culture is what we do. Culture is the actions we take. And we want to build actions that are supportive, that are embracing, that are intentional, that are listening, that are giving voice. How do we create that culture? And I went to Elizabeth Ross Cantor, who created this framework probably 25 years ago in managing complex systems change in the business world, not in the education world or in the disability world. And it’s been used as a framework by many of our TASH colleagues in different settings. And it says that we need a vision for where we want to go. Wherever we’re going. The people who are expected to implement that vision needs skills. Not only do they need skills, but they need incentives to change because who likes change?


Carol Quirk (18:50):

Now, a few of us love change, but when I have polled audiences and when I have pulled people I’m with, I’d say 80% of people, they’re not so comfortable with change. So they need incentives. We also need resources. If we’re going to do different things, we may need different things. We may need technical assistance. We may need coaching. We may need different materials. So we need resources for that change. And finally, we need an action plan. We need that step-by-step. We need someone who’s got that ability to create that path, so that will take us from where we are now to where we hope to go. Now, in this framework, if you don’t have a vision, even if you have skills and incentives to change and resources, and if you have an action plan, if you don’t really know what the end is, you’ll be confused.


Carol Quirk (19:40):

You’re not sure where you’re going. But supposing you have that vision, but you don’t have the skills. Supposing that a change is going to happen. Whether it’s in a school or a building, or whether it’s in an employment and you have a vision and you say, “I’m going to pay you 20 more dollars a week. I’m going to give you some resources.” But you don’t really have the skills. You’re not going to have the confidence. And you’re going to have anxiety. Now, what if you have the vision and skills, but no incentives. You’re going to have resistance because why should you change? You’ve got this going on, but you’re very comfortable where you are. So you’re going to hit resistance if you don’t have some incentives. What about if you have all of that, but no resources. And you’re missing the key piece that will help you get, you know, you, you can do it.


Carol Quirk (20:33):

You’re getting paid that extra $20 a week and you’ve got a plan, but you don’t have the tools. So you’re frustrated. And then what if you don’t have an action plan? So you have all of those other things, but you don’t have the steps to take you where you want to go. You’re going to be on the treadmill. You’re going to be saying the same thing over and over and over and over. So these are all of the things that we need to have in place in order to go from where we are, to the vision — to the place we want to go. So creating a culture of inclusion, we’re going to need to establish a group of people together and hopefully enable them to be collaborative and act as a team. We want to define our vision. Now I have learned despite what the literature tells us, that it’s nearly impossible for a group to get together and establish a vision until they’ve done some exploration.


Carol Quirk (21:26):

So if you’re looking to make change to create this culture, your group needs to explore together. You need to look at videos, you need to visit places. You need to have discussions. You need to engage stakeholders, naysayers, and yeasayers. After you’ve done that and work together, you will be able to craft a shared vision that you can agree upon. And then you should use data because once you have this vision, where are you going to go? You should look at what the change is going to be and what the current measure is so that you can plan a step-by-step change because you can’t get from here to your vision. You’ve got to start where you’re at and make incremental changes. You’ve got to create space for dialogue, with the stakeholders that you’re going to want to engage with because you’re going to be asking other people to change.


Carol Quirk (22:17):

So you’ve got to have that dialogue and communicate and communicate and involve everyone who will be engaged. So, as I think of the power of inclusion, it is based to me on a sense of belonging. We can be physically present, but unless we create that sense of belonging and feeling of membership, we can’t move on to a true sense of inclusion. And when we get there, we’ll be able, we’ll be achieving, we’ll be contributing, they’ll have friendships, we’ll have a sense of well-being and confidence, we’ll be a participant in our group and we’ll feel valued. And I think the bottom line for me is what I thought when I sent my kids to kindergarten. The thing that I hope for them, I didn’t, I wasn’t thinking about grades. I wasn’t thinking even about whether they, you know, what they would particularly learn in a given year. What I was thinking about was whether or not they’d be happy. So I would encourage you to think about the power of inclusion comes from within you, and you have the power to affect the lives of other people.


Carol Quirk (23:25):

Thank you. And I’ll be happy to take any questions.


Carol Quirk (23:38):

“Can we see inclusion as a basic right for all people?” is a question. Absolutely. I think, you know, we can look you know, ADA does not give us a right to inclusion. ADA talks about access. Access will get us there. IDEA, if people really read the law, IDEA since 1975 and in all of the reauthorization, not only in the regulations, but in the comments talks over and over again about beginning in the school building in the class the student would attend if they did not have a disability and it continues throughout the years. And if we really read the law and read the comments from the US department of education, I think it builds us a case for absolute inclusion.


Carol Quirk (24:25):

“What Are you, what are the go-to strategies for helping organizations create an inclusive vision?” I recently had this conversation with two of the district and with another state, and it’s that bringing people together to have conversation and bringing the key people together and allowing safe space to disagree.


Carol Quirk (24:48):

We often encourage districts in schools when we’re working with them to bring in the person who’s most vocally opposed to inclusion into the team, because number one, they’re saying it out loud, and that will help us think about what other people are saying. And that will, it’s not a matter of figuring out what their communication is so we can tell them they’re wrong, so much as really understand what the influences are. And if it’s, it’s often fear. A fear that people actually won’t be included, fear of failure, fear that I don’t really have the confidence to do the right thing.


Carol Quirk (25:24):

“What about ableism?” Well you know, there’s a really great video on ableism and we’re beginning to have that discussion. I think saying it out loud and connecting ableism to racism to feminism, you know, sexism, we can look at trying to increase an awareness and understanding.


Carol Quirk (25:45):

Oh my gosh. “Have You seen less inclusion justified by COVID?” No, I haven’t. Not to say that’s not happening, but I have seen less inclusion. In other words, I have talked with several special ed teachers who are so upset that for many students who have more extensive support needs, the only way that they can get to them instructionally is to see them in a small, special ed group or one-on-one. And that when they’re in that with their general ed peers, as they should be, they’re less able to access through technology, especially if they have sensory vision or hearing impairments. So I see a lot of frustration and upset about a lack of inclusion as a result of COVID.


Carol Quirk (26:33):

Thank you, Kathleen. Kathleen’s mentioning she struggled with physical inclusion and much else, especially the access to, in progress in contents, speak a bit, a bit about how to move educators toward the student progress in the same grade content. I think that’s really about equipping them with how to adapt the curriculum. I think the biggest barrier for teachers who want to include kids is they don’t know how. They don’t know how to adapt the curriculum. And I’ve seen where we have two teachers in a classroom and the special educator is not as fully engaged as an instructor because it’s not just that they don’t want to it’s that collaborative planning time with the general ed teachers is not on the master schedule, so they haven’t had time to figure it out. They don’t necessarily have the time for the level of adaptation that’s needed. They’re not into that rhythm. So I think that’s a skill factor for teachers who do want to include kids.


Carol Quirk (27:42):

Oh, I’ve gotten so much more here. “What advice do you have for families advocating for inclusion in a system that isn’t moving toward inclusion?” The law I hate to say it, but that’s really having an understanding of the law. Getting an advocate. If the principal is the key in your building, if the principal is not willing to include a child, it’s tough. If the principal is willing, but they are influenced by a special ed team, if you can work through the principal, you’ll probably have a greater chance of having your child more meaningfully included.


Carol Quirk (28:25):

“How would you suggest to general ed teachers to include students who have autism and behaviors within the general ed classroom?” So behavior, you know, and I’ve, I’ve been recently reading in detail, the regulations over time, and the one exclusion — and I’ll call it exclusion — that is allowed and has been held up in courts is if a student’s behavior is disrupting the learning of themselves or providing a safety issue to themselves and others. And everybody needs to be safe.


Carol Quirk (29:00):

I think the issue, especially for people who are autistic, is whether or not that behavior is truly disruptive and truly harmful. I’ve been in classes where people have worked really hard together to support a student being included who may have had physical behaviors, movement issues in terms of needing to move more than the other students, hooting out and making noises. And frankly, the class was taught that this is part of who that person was. Some of these behaviors that may be different than what they engage in is part of what that student needs to feel confidentto be able to focus. And we’re going to let them do that. The, the question is, is the behavior physically harmful and, and challenging the safety? And if that’s the case, then you may need removal. But I believe for kids with autism and emotional disabilities who have behavior behaviors that interfere with others, if there is a need to remove, to encourage learning or safety, the challenge is how are we going to get them back?


Carol Quirk (30:10):

Because removal is usually a one-way street to life of segregation. So if we’re not thinking about when they are removed, what is the services, what is the instruction being offered to them so that they can get back? Because life is in the community. You know, Macy’s is not a separate, there’s not a separate Macy’s for people with disabilities. Everybody gets to go there. Let me see if I have some others here. And I think we only have one more minute.


Carol Quirk (30:41):

“How do autistic people fit into your picture?” I think, I think I answered that. “I See the skill issue you identify with my son’s co-teachers, I’m trying to figure out how to get them the support and training they need without telling them they’re unskilled.” Well, that’s a challenge. “Can You demand co-planning?” Oh, so the, the thing about co-planning is time in the master schedule and many administrators, they don’t want to give that up. Their master schedule is very dear to them. So I think that is an administrative conversation. It’s really, you can work with the teachers, but if they don’t have the, if the time isn’t given to them by the administration, then they’re not empowered. So I think I’m out of time.


Michael Brogioli (31:32):

Actually Carol, we can, we can go on for another about six or seven minutes or so. Cause my wrap-up is going to be super short.


Carol Quirk (31:39):

Okay, great. Let me see what else you’ve got here. Jenny, thank you. “So That the UNESCO 2020 stated that debating inclusion can be seen as debating the abolition of slavery, or ending apartheid.” I cannot agree more. “How Do we shift the debate of inclusion to be viewed in this way?” The only thing I can say about that is to go back to what’s right here. Is that we have research that tells us that membership and belonging in an inclusive setting where everybody else gets to access gets access results in a greater outcome. But, you know, I don’t think that focusing the results on the person with a disability is necessarily going to be the art are a winning argument. I think we have to translate this to the value to society. So if we have people, a greater majority of people, and it’s not just people with disabilities, it’s people who are accessing less, people who may be segregated because of suspensions and their suspensions may be a result of a racial bias people who are bullied because they’re from the LGBTQ community. If we think about people who have less access, physical presence, and participation, and who don’t have a sense of belonging, we are going to have lower achievement, lower contribution, lower employment, which has a direct result on the tax space. So I think we, you know, we want to look at the benefit to the individual, the benefit to the institution and the benefit to society. And that’s like a really big conversation.


Carol Quirk (33:42):

“You mentioned that families should be familiar with the law. What is the best resource for families to learn about the law?” There’s couple of, I haven’t seen any new books, but rights law is a website that has a lot of accessible information on the law. Understood.Org is another website that is not necessarily about the law, but it has some good resources. We hope to be putting out a white paper soon on IDEA. So I think I’d look and go to Amazon, see what books are out there on IDEA and maybe go to those websites.


Carol Quirk (34:28):

Thank you, Tia. “If that is what’s in the law, why do you think” — I have an answer to this — “Why do you think exclusionary practices have persisted? What ableist perspectives do you think play into that?” So this is what I think as someone who’s been a member of TASH since nearly the beginning and I saw institutions and saw some of the change. When the law was first passed, the majority of people, especially people with intellectual disabilities, were not educated by public schools. They weren’t there, they weren’t even in segregated buildings. With the exception of some more advanced, especially East coast and West coast on the coast, there were private schools or separate buildings for kids with orthopedic impairments, separate buildings for kids with emotional disabilities, separate buildings for kids, with learning disabilities. Everybody had their own building. So when the law was passed, many States copied that.


Carol Quirk (35:27):

And for the States that were already serving kids, but in separate buildings, they weren’t going to tear down those buildings. So we started with a culture of separation back in seventies, to early eighties. And the concept of integration came about in the early eighties, but what we were thinking, because we had no models. What we were thinking in the eighties was we needed to be in the place. And MCIE was actually formed in 1988 because kids with intellectual disabilities were only in certain programs and could not go to their neighborhood schools. So our whole approach was pushing participation in neighborhood schools. And I’ll be honest. We never thought about inclusion in regular, regular, regular classes to learn the regular content. We were really thinking more about social engagement.


Carol Quirk (36:17):

And I remember a story of a parent said when her son seventh grader in biology was included. And she said, he came home from school. She was making dinner, sitting at the table and he was using watercolors and he put his paintbrush in the glass of water. And he pointed to the place where the water hit the glass. And he said, “look, refraction.” He barely spoke full sentences. He also pointed to the window and he said, “that’s translucent.” He was learning science vocabulary that he would never have had access to in a special ed classroom. So I think it’s a long way for us traditionally to come and change.


Carol Quirk (37:07):

The second reason I’ll say is that we have many educators who are not acquainting themselves and administrators with the literature, with the research. Would you go to a doctor who wasn’t keeping up with research? So I think, you know, finding research and finding studies and sharing those is a great way to go to help educate our educators.


Carol Quirk (37:30):

Let’s see what else here. Sandy says, “IDEA funded parent training and information centers can help parents.” Absolutely. Right. Almost every state or at least every region has a parent training and information center. And they certainly should be able to help you.


Carol Quirk (37:56):

Yes, it is so much. Thank you, Kathleen. It’s so much about expectation.

Carol Quirk (38:02):

Let me see if I can find one more here. This is not a question, but an example. 20 years after Andreas graduated from his local high school, the town clerk sends him an absentee ballot with requests for every election. Absolutely. Being a voting member is an entitlement that you should, everybody should have.

Carol Quirk (38:26):

PEAL Center. The PTI in Pennsylvania. Okay. Is there anything else? Michael, I think it’s going to be yours.


Michael Brogioli (38:45):

Thank you so much, Carol. I wish we could all do a applause beyond virtually, but we can’t so I’m going to applaud on behalf of everyone. I know I speak for everyone, that was outstanding and a great way to kick off this year’s conference, particularly given our theme of the power of inclusion. And I would just add to that, I, you know, I find it great a keynote is one that informs and challenges and doesn’t sugar coat, but inspires. And I, I frankly, you, you hit all of those bases for me. I’m going to say, I’m going to borrow your change chart if I may and repurpose it for our own TASH strategic planning, which is coming in January. But thank you again. And I want to thank all of our attendees. We had a great turnout to start today and I hope people will join the sessions that begin at 12:30. And again, on behalf of all of us, thank you so much, Carol. And we’re grateful and we look forward to continuing to work with you and to work together, to to make inclusion a reality for everyone.


Carol Quirk (39:48):

Thank you.


Michael Brogioli (39:48):

Thanks everybody.

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