8 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Think Inclusive

We are celebrating 8 years of existence! Here are some things you may not know about who we are and what we are all about.

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Hey, Y’all!

It’s our 8th birthday, and we’re putting on our party hats.

[GIF Description] Pikachu and Togepi putting on birthday party hats

At the close of every February, I typically take time out to not only celebrate our accomplishments but also remember why Think Inclusive exists in the first place.

Our main goal is to build a bridge between parents, educators, and advocates to advocate for inclusive education. We do this by publishing articles by disabled advocates, parents of children with disabilities, and educators who are “all-in” for inclusion. We are a big group and we are only getting bigger.

Here are 8 things you may not already know about who we are and what we are all about.

1. It all started with a Twitter and Tumblr account.

In preparation for the 2011 TASH conference in Atlanta, I set up a Twitter account.

Our first tweet:

Earlier that school year, the Georgia Department of Education worked with me and a student in my classroom to systematically include them in general education.

And then a Tumblr account.

[Image] a screenshot of our first Tumblr post, a quote about inclusion

I thought maybe if inclusion was important to me, it was important to someone else. And the response was fantastic.

2. We have always been about including students with significant support needs in general education.

Also in 2011, SpecialEducationAdvisor.com asked me to write an article for them about inclusion. It was about getting over the biggest obstacle to inclusion, fear. I wrote about an experience including a student from my segregated “special day class” in a general education Math segment.

Diffusing and answering the inevitable questions was the big key into alleviating everyone’s fear. I spoke to the class before we started and explained my student, while having some differences in the way he experienced the world, was still a 4th grade boy who liked movies, music and playing on the computer. He liked Math, which is why we decided this was the best time for him to join his peers. It was also important to take the uncomfortable questions of “why does he do this,” or “why does he do that,” and answer them with the utmost respect and dignity to their new classmate. Perhaps honest communication is the best way to gain his peers’ trust…kids are too smart and usually know when you are trying to put one over on them. Once we got that out of the way, acceptance was the easy part.

More writing opportunities came my way, including writing a three-part post about inclusion for Ollibean.

In 2012, I officially launched Think Inclusive. Here is a screenshot of our first site.

[Image] the Think Inclusive website (Circa 2012), our tagline “where education meets advocacy.”

3. We rank consistently among the top 50 education blogs in the world.

Teach.com updates a daily ranking of the top 100 education blogs. You can check out our ranking at the Teach 100.

It is amazing to see Think Inclusive (the only blog in the top 100 dedicated to inclusive education) ranked beside amazing education websites like MindShift, TeachThought, On Special Education, The Hechinger Report, and MiddleWeb.

4. Our guest bloggers include disabled advocates, parents of children with disabilities, as well as special and general educators.

Something that was important to me when I started the site was to focus on a broad coalition of people who want to see inclusion move forward in our schools and communities.

Some of our most notable guest bloggers are Emily Ladau, David Perry, and Katie Novak, and Amanda Morin.

5. We have recorded more than 30 podcast episodes that span over the last 8 years.

Our latest episode is about including students with intellectual disabilities in general education.

[Image] a screenshot of Spotify with a list of the latest episodes of the Think Inclusive Podcast

6. We have paid our writers since the beginning.

Since our first guest posts were published, we made it a point to pay our writers for their work.

Currently, $50 is the least amount of money that we pay writers for original work.

Do you have an inclusion story to share with us? Click here for our submission guidelines.

7. We may look like we have a large staff, but it really is a small operation.

Here is me tooting my own horn, but for the majority of our 8 years, it has been me running the website, editing content, posting on social media, producing the podcast, with barely any budget.

Though, from time to time I have asked for extra help and am extremely grateful for help from Aaron Devries, Emily Ladau, Zachary Fenell, other educators, and disabled advocates.

One of the ways that I make it seem like we are always online is by using automated social media postings like Buffer and Revive Social.

8. Look for Think Inclusive’s first IRL event fall of 2020.

I’ve wanted to have an event for years now. While it is only in the planning stages, we will host an event in the Atlanta Metro area sometime in the fall of this year.

The event will be focused on providing parents and educators practical strategies for the authentic inclusion of their children and students.

So basically, just block off September/October/November in your calendar, and stay tuned.

[GIF Description] the actor playing the character Ernest (from the 90s) in a beret and glasses saying, “I haven’t checked my schedule, but I think I’m free.”

How you can support Think Inclusive

We are fortunate enough to receive some revenue from ads that run on the website. This is the bulk of our income. That being said, it is not enough to cover all of our expenses. In the last couple of years, I opened up Think Inclusive to consulting with families. While this was a great opportunity, it has been slow going for me due to time constraints (I have a day job). We are an independent platform and we do not receive any source of income from an outside organization.

I believe the only viable way forward for us is for Think Inclusive to become primarily a publishing platform. This is why you have seen us focus on calling for guest posts and investing in our podcast.

Here is where you can help. We have a number of ways that you can contribute to the advocacy work at Think Inclusive.

  1. Become a patron of the Think Inclusive Podcast.

  2. Contribute to help us pay our writers via PayPal.

  3. Buy some swag from our Think Inclusive shop.

  4. Become a paid subscriber of The Weeklyish.

We have about 3K subscribers of this newsletter. If even 1% of the Weeklish subscribers pay $5 per month, that will provide us enough funds to pay for approximately one writer, for one post, per week, for the rest of the year.

ICYMI

Noodle: The 4 Key Questions to Ask Before Accepting Your First Special Education Teaching Job

Think Inclusive: What Books to Read with Disability Representation for February 2020

BTW, it’s my birthday.

Today is Friday, February 28th, 2020.

I’m 42. I was 34 when we launched.

It has been an amazing journey, and I can’t wait to see what is in store for the rest of 2020.

Thanks for your time and attention.

Tim


This portion of the Weeklyish will generally be for paid subscribers only ($5 per month/$50 per year). For this post, we have included it for everyone.

In the News

Ivy Tech Sellersburg launching program for students with intellectual disabilities

Study: General Education Classrooms Boost Performance Of Students With Disabilities

How These Denver Schools Include Students with Disabilities, and Why More Could Follow

*Inclusion, Career and Technical Education Help Students With Disabilities

*from 2017, but still relevant

What I’m Reading

Navigating the Waters of Teacher Social Media

Is the Disability Field Spinning a False Narrative of Increased Inclusion?

Discovering Digital Pathways To Disability Culture

Does the Sound of Noisy Eating Drive You Mad? Here's Why

What I’m Watching

The Kids We Lose on PBS

What I’m Listening To

The cost of school choice by Reveal

What’s in my Timeline

Something to think about as we celebrate Read Across America.

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