2019 TASH Conference has ended
Each year, the TASH Conference brings together our constituents to share resources and success stories, learn about field-driven best practices, and network within a community engaged in shared values. The Conference is attended by passionate leaders, experts, and advocates from every corner of the disability community. Conference attendees are influential in their fields and communities, and play an important role in the provision of services and supports for the millions of individuals and organizations around the world; and include professors and researchers from leading institutions; those involved in local, state, and federal governments and public policy; special and general educators, and school administrators; self-advocates, adult service providers; students, family members, and many others.  This year’s conference theme, Building Diverse and Inclusive Communities, reminds us that equity, opportunity, and inclusion relies on the input of broad perspectives and experiences.

avatar for Vanessa DiCarlo

Vanessa DiCarlo

IncludED Consulting, LLC
Phoenix, AZ
IncludED's mission is to create schools that systemically plan for all students; setting inclusive education as the expectation, rather than the the exception. IncludED teaches leaders that inclusion is a practice that begins with asking 'how', and ends with 'when we are together'. Believing disability and equity are necessary ingredients that are central to our humanity, leaders work together, and receive training to not only shift the paradigm, but reshape the paradigm. From there, a new community emerges; where by uplifting the few, we reach the whole, but first, we must get them #IncludED. About Me- As a teenager, I started my own quiet rebellion against segregated educational settings, by refusing to attend special education classes. Even as a naive teenager, I felt the shame and stigma of segregation, and knew there was nothing special about my education. As a result of my own ‘special’ education, I decided to become a special education teacher, with the hope of fixing the specialness that made me feel so broken. I needed to be seen and understood, and became fiercely committed to writing a different ending for my students. My path to becoming a different kind of special education teacher coincided with my admittance into a grant-funded masters level program, Project SKIES (Skills & Knowledge in Inclusive Education Settings). With the support of district leaders, and mentorship from my esteemed professors, I transformed a small rural district from a self-contained model, to a fully inclusive model, then replicating this model with other schools within our district. This journey created an awakening, as I witnessed the best part of humanity emerge when neurotypical, neurodivergent/disabled students were educated together. Our classrooms looked like community, and felt like belonging, and it was palpable. The graduate training I received in assistive technology, inclusive practices, positive behavioral support, autism, and low-incidence disabilities further established the knowledge needed to create transformational inclusive classrooms. As the district-wide inclusion specialist, I developed trainings and systemic implementation frameworks to bridge the gap between knowing and doing; successfully including students with the most significant support needs. After the birth of my first daughter, I worked as a consultant traveling throughout Arizona, continuing to provide inclusive education trainings and consultation to schools throughout Arizona. Within my small community in rural Arizona I became connected to former students, and families seeking inclusive classrooms, eventually becoming a special education advocate and consultant. Attending IEP meetings with administrators and teachers, I was reminded again of the need for training and systemic solutions to support schools in creating inclusive classrooms. My own understanding and need for inclusive education shifted as I became a parent sitting in my daughters school meetings, pleading with teachers to listen, to learn, to include. It was then that the drive to create inclusive classrooms shifted from from a passion, to a promise. IncludED Consulting, LLC was born out of the promise I made to my daughters, and fellow autistic, neurodivergent and disabled individuals, to create equitable and inclusive classrooms where all students are educated, supported, and appreciated. By creating systemic solutions, and customized training for schools, and teachers, I believe we can work together to close the gap between research and practice.