Feature Article - October 2010
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A Welcome Inclusion

Invisible Disabilities Get Hands-On Attention

By Kelli Anderson

The Right Attitude and Training

Even if a TRS is not in the cards, there is one characteristic that successful inclusion can't do without: the right attitude.

"Attitude is the biggest pitfall," Fitzgerald concluded. "There are plenty of communities who have a person with the right attitude who can do the research and figure out how to do accommodation. They can do it. Ultimately, however, it's a team approach."

To learn more about inclusion and acquire proper training, annual conferences like NIRI (National Inclusion Recreation Institute) that will be hosted this fall in Schaumburg, Ill., offer the real-life nuts and bolts of inclusion, as well as Web sites such as www.nrpa.org for the National Recreation and Park Association that offers online inclusion training, staffing tips and practices.

Such conferences and Web sites offer up the latest information and training for inclusion that can help those with invisible disabilities to succeed, as well as improve the learning environment for all participants, even those without disabilities. Those who struggle with attention disorders, with auditory processing dysfunctions, with anxiety or the myriad of other common emotional and social challenges tend to thrive when instructors are calm, consistent, offer clear and concise instructions and who have a methodical approach to their teaching. They also are more likely to succeed when programs and events are well structured. But, who doesn't benefit from that?

And, that's the point.

"The good news is that the techniques and strategies will work better for everybody," said John Willson, director of the learning disabilities and AD/HD services of SOAR, a wilderness camp for children with LD and AD/HD in Balsam, N.C. "Everyone benefits from them."