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Holiday Gift Guide for Inclusionists

It is never too early to start thinking about what to get people for the holidays. I have wanted to put together a holiday gift guide for inclusionists on Think Inclusive for a while now. And since stores like Home Depot have swapped Halloween decorations for trees, lawn figures, and lights, now seems like a wonderful time to do it.

But what to get the inclusionist in your life? I love getting books, even if I know they will sit on my shelf until I’m ready to read them. You can’t have too many books IMO. But I have also listed some films to rent/buy and some household items or apparel that may strike your fancy. Here are some suggestions for gifts that will surely make their heart grow at least three sizes.

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Leading for All: How to Create Truly Inclusive and Excellent Schools 1st Edition by Jennifer Spencer-Iiams and Josh Flosi

Leading for All is a practical guide that provides a clear pathway for educators to develop a more inclusive school community from start to finish. The authors share lessons learned from years building district schools where all students are served in their neighborhood school and in classrooms with their general education peers.

Your Students, My Students, Our Students: Rethinking Equitable and Inclusive Classrooms Illustrated Edition by Lee Ann Jung, Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher, and Julie Kroener

To realize authentic and equitable inclusion, we must relentlessly and collectively pursue change. Your Students, My Students, Our Students —written not for "special educators" or "general educators" but for all educators—addresses the challenges, maps out the solutions, and provides tools and inspiration for the work ahead. Real-life examples of empowerment and success illustrate just what's possible when educators commit to the belief that every student belongs to all of us and all students deserve learning experiences that will equip them to live full and rewarding lives.

Every Child Can Fly: An Early Childhood Educator’s Guide to Inclusion by Jani Kozlowski

Throughout Every Child Can Fly, Kozlowski explores the defining features of high-quality inclusion and shows readers how to provide access and support for children with disabilities. Learn how to help them feel included through strong family involvement, peer relationships, individualized teaching practices, collaborative teaming, ongoing evaluation, and staff professional development.

It’s More Than “Just Being In”: Creating Authentic Inclusion for Students with Complex Support Needs by Cheryl M. Jorgensen

For students with disabilities, including those with complex support needs, inclusion means more than just physical presence in a classroom—it means valued membership and full participation in a general education classroom and the school community. This book is your school team's practical blueprint for making authentic inclusion happen in K–12 classrooms.

Reimagining Special Education: Using Inclusion as a Framework to Build Equity and Support All Students First Edition by Jenna Mancini Rufo and Julie Causton

A visionary call to action from inclusion experts Jenna Mancini Rufo and Julie Causton, Reimagining Special Education guides readers in creating more equitable schools and services, through practical strategies teachers can use right away and thought-provoking, big-picture questions for administrators to tackle. Readers will explore how inclusive educational practices can address each student’s unique needs as schools reopen and bridge learning gaps for students who struggle. Throughout the book, vignettes and anecdotes spark lightbulb moments for educators and show what recommended practices look like in real classrooms.

The Paraprofessional's Handbook for Effective Support in Inclusive Classrooms by Julie Causton and Kate MacLeod

What does a great paraprofessional need to know and do? You’ll find real-world answers from two experts in the second edition of this bestselling guidebook. Passionate inclusion advocates Julie Causton and Kate MacLeod bring you a supremely practical guide to surviving and thriving as an integral part of your school’s inclusive team. You’ll get immediately applicable strategies for mastering every facet of your complex role: collaborating with other team members, selecting accommodations and modifications, facilitating peer connections, fading your support, and much more. And you’ll find a treasure trove of tools—including activities, learning checks, reproducible templates, FAQs, and short to-do lists—to help you reflect on your practice and strengthen your daily work.

The Inclusion Toolbox: Strategies and Techniques for All Teachers by Jennifer A. Kurth and Megan N. Gross The Inclusion Toolbox is an all-in-one resource that combines research-based strategies and practical tools to help you design and implement a truly inclusive education program. You’ll discover:

  • Step-by-step plans for implementing new programs

  • Guidance on how to strengthen existing inclusive programs

  • Strategies to empower and involve families, students with disabilities, and their peers

  • Tools to assess student interests and develop adaptation plans

With user-friendly online resources and practical strategies, this comprehensive guide will help you make inclusion a reality!

Inclusive Education in a Strengths-Based Era: Mapping the Future of the Field (Inclusive Education for Students with Disabilities) by Michael L. Wehmeyer and Jennifer Kurth

In this inaugural book in their Inclusive Education for Students with Disabilities series, Michael L. Wehmeyer and Jennifer A. Kurth explore central, defining questions for the field of special and inclusive education: who, what, and where do we teach; what works in inclusive education; and where does inclusive education go now?

Arguing that the concept of disability for the past fifty years has emphasized students as incapable and incompetent, the authors propose instead to build on a growing understanding that students with disabilities can be successful and meet high expectations, and that educators have the knowledge and skills to achieve this. From this strength-based perspective, the presumption is that disability is part of, and not apart from, typical human functioning.

Using this lens, Wehmeyer and Kurth describe effective practices to guide instruction in inclusive settings―practices that begin with a consideration of each student’s strengths and capacities, rather than with a diagnosis.

Specially Designed Instruction 1st Edition by Anne M. Beninghof

In engaging, accessible chapters, expert teacher and author Anne M. Beninghof lays out a road map for providing specially designed instruction in any classroom. This book equips you with the answers to the most frequently asked questions around incorporating special education services into the general classroom – What is SDI? Who is responsible? How do we make it happen?

Focused on creating an effective planning process that you and your team can follow to develop specially designed instruction, this toolkit includes dozens of practical examples, worksheets, and prep tools to ensure readers walk away with a thorough understanding and ready-to-use ideas. Whether you have years of experience working with students with disabilities or are new to the profession, this critical guide provides effective strategies for every classroom.

UDL Now!: A Teacher's Guide to Applying Universal Design for Learning by Katie Novak

In the third edition of UDL Now!, Katie Novak provides practical insights and savvy strategies for helping all learners succeed in a post-pandemic world using the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). This powerful guide for educators covers timely topics including:

  • Supporting UDL within multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS)

  • UDL in the service of equity

  • Recruiting and engaging learners as UDL partners

  • How UDL and Differentiated Instruction (DI) work together

  • The role of student choice and voice

  • What learning expertise really means

  • Preparing for standardized assessments the UDL way

Novak presents examples throughout the book to make the content relevant and digestible. She concludes each chapter with reflection questions to help teachers apply key concepts to their work. UDL Now! is a fun and effective playbook for great teaching. Design and Deliver: Planning and Teaching Using Universal Design for Learning by Loui Lord Nelson

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is the best way to teach all students effectively and break down barriers to learning—but how can busy teachers get started with UDL right now? Find the answers in the second edition of this bestselling, teacher-trusted primer, created by internationally recognized UDL expert Loui Lord Nelson.

Thoroughly updated to reflect new research and developments in the field of UDL, this book gives K–12 teachers a reader-friendly UDL introduction and a practical framework for implementation, with guidelines and checkpoints for designing effective, barrier-free lesson plans and learning environments. You’ll learn how to use the three core principles of UDL—Engagement, Representation, and Action & Expression—to present information in multiple ways and ensure access for all learners. Throughout the book, detailed examples, stories, illustrations, teacher reflections, and activities reinforce UDL principles and help you put them into practice in both virtual and in-person settings.

Written in first person, like a face-to-face talk with a passionate educator, this research-based book will guide you in designing equitable, inclusive, and culturally responsive learning environments that meet the needs of diverse learners. An essential UDL introduction for both preservice and inservice educators!

Picture Inclusion!: Snapshots of Successful Diverse Classrooms by Whitney H. Rapp, Katrina L. Arndt, and Susan M. Hildenbrand

Picture one guidebook that gives you the fundamentals of inclusion, proven practices for teaching everyone, and dozens of student profiles and sample lesson plans. That's what you'll get in Picture Inclusion!, your ultimate theory-to-practice guide to teaching every learner in a diverse inclusive classroom.

You'll begin with a reader-friendly introduction to the why and how of inclusion in Grades K–5, including the theoretical foundations of inclusive education and general guidelines on key concepts: universal design for learning, response to intervention, alternate assessment, and more. Then you'll go inside three model classrooms—Grades 1, 3, and 5—for an in-depth look at how to support students with a wide range of learning needs. For each model classroom, you'll find

  • Snapshots of 20 diverse students and their teacher. Each snapshot introduces you to a student, clarifies their support needs and goals, and shares a sample support schedule and concrete strategies for helping the student reach their goals.

  • Eight sample lesson plans for teaching core academic areas (ELA, math, science, and social studies) and specials (art, physical education, music, and technology). Each plan gives you learning objectives, preparation steps, sample scripts, and step-by-step teaching guidelines.

  • Dozens of specific inclusive practices, adaptable for any classroom, to support individual students and groups. (Also available in the appendix as a convenient Inclusive Practices Bank!)

Brimming with the practical tools and wisdom you need to create lessons that support every learner, this hands-on, how-to resource will help you move inclusion from a lofty ideal to an everyday reality.

Fully Included Stories to Inspire Inclusion Paperback by Michelle Tetschner and 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. The authors 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.

The authors hope these stories will inspire people to look beyond the diagnosis, to see the person and the strengths we each have within us. And hope these stories will help bring awareness to the gifts that we each have, and that they just need to be nurtured to grow.

Inclusion and School Reform: Transforming America's Classrooms by Dorothy Kerzner Lipsky and Alan Gartner

Examines the education of students with disabilities. Section I describes the separate special education system, and Section II examines efforts toward inclusive education. Section III discusses school restructuring and its inclusion and exclusion of students with disabilities. Section IV addresses broader societal issues related to the ways in which people with disabilities are treated in schools and society, and Section V presents cases and discussion of inclusion issues. For policy makers, administrators, teachers, and parents.


Educating Peter (DVD)

ACADEMY AWARD, Best Documentary Short Film Peter Gwazdauska has Down Syndrome, and until this year he attended classes with children like himeslf. EDUCATING PETER is the story of Peter's first year in a regular classroom with normal children. The first week of classes in Mrs. Stallings' third-grade class is probably the most harrowing in the lives of many of these children. However, after many tribulations and a great deal of planning, Mts. Stallings, her students, and Peter grow to accept, trust and learn from each other.

"You think that you're teaching Peter things, but really Peter's teaching you things. We might be teaching him stuff like how to do things, but he's teaching us more how to think and how to react to other problems," said Jill Fox, a classmate of Peter's. This documentary is about the changes that take place over the course of the school year, as Peter, his classmates, and the teacher learn lessons that go far beyond their academic subjects.

The Peanut Butter Falcon

Zak (Zack Gottsagen), a young man with Down syndrome, escapes from the nursing home where he lives to pursue his dream of becoming a wrestler. On the way, he meets up with Tyler (Shia LaBeouf), who is also running away from trouble.

Including Samuel

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.

Intelligent Lives

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.

Forget Me Not: Inclusion In The Classroom

As 3-year-old Emilio prepares to start school, his family finds itself embroiled in a challenge all too common for children with disabilities. Cornered in New York City public schools, filmmaker Olivier and his wife Hilda turn the camera on themselves and their child with Down syndrome, as they navigate a byzantine system originally designed to silo children with disabilities.

Front of the Class

Based on the true story of Brad Cohen, who, after being challenged by Tourette's syndrome from a very young age, defies all odds to become a gifted teacher. Stars Jimmy Wolk, Treat Williams, and Patricia Heaton. From the Hallmark Hall of Fame Collection.


People Love Art

People Love Art exists to provide a platform for expression and a means of income for people with disabilities. Their high-quality apparel empowers artists to have their voices heard and empowers a community of allies to show love by representing their brand.

All Together

All Together is an online boutique that provides vocational training for young adults with different abilities.

Independent Grounds Cafe

Independent Grounds has the unique mission of serving great coffee while also providing meaningful employment opportunities for adults with disabilities. Order coffee beans and merchandise online!

Inclusion Starts Now

Kayla is an inclusion consultant, but she has quite a number of products for sale that would brighten any inclusionist heart.


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Tim Villegas is the Director of Communications for MCIE, Editor-in-Chief of Think Inclusive, and the host of the Think Inclusive Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @TheRealTimVegas.


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