Skip to main content
The Think Inclusive Podcast

The Think Inclusive Podcast

The Think Inclusive Podcast (presented by MCIE) features conversations and commentary with thought leaders in inclusive education and community advocacy. Think Inclusive exists to build bridges between parents, educators, and disability rights advocates to promote inclusion for all students. To find out more about who we are and what we do, go to (the official blog of MCIE) and check us out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Listen on
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Breaker Logo


Castbox Logo


Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo


Pocket Casts Logo

Pocket Casts

PodBean Logo


RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


Stitcher Logo


Jennifer Spencer-Iiams | Leading for All: How to Create Truly Inclusive and Excellent Schools
The Think Inclusive Podcast (presented by MCIE) features conversations and commentary with thought leaders in inclusive education and community advocacy. Think Inclusive exists to build bridges between parents, educators, and disability rights advocates to promote inclusion for all students. To find out more about who we are and what we do, go to (the official blog of MCIE) and check us out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Today on the podcast, Jennifer Spencer-Iiams, Assistant Superintendent for the West Linn-Wilsonville School District, talks to us about the transformation in her district toward inclusive practices. Her book, Leading for All: How to Create Truly Inclusive and Excellent Schools, shares lessons learned from years building district schools where all students are served in their neighborhood school and classrooms with their general education peers. Leading for All: How to Create Truly Inclusive and Excellent Schools - Donate to MCIE -
October 22, 2020
Amy Langerman, Amanda Selogie & Vickie Brett | LRE
Discussions around the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) for students with disabilities are almost always tricky. For this episode, we attempt to make LRE a little more understandable. We interview Amy Langerman, special education advocate and attorney in California and Arizona. We discuss the difficulty of some parents seeking the Least Restrictive Environment for their child and how services are delivered in both states. Next, we have Amanda Selogie and Vickie Brett from the Inclusive Education Project (which is a fantastic podcast if you don’t already know about them). We also discuss LRE and strategies that you can take to help advocate for inclusive education wherever you are on your inclusion journey. Also, stay tuned for information about next season. Amy Langerman: Inclusive Education Project:
September 17, 2020
Carol Quirk | Systems Change and Inclusive Education
Today on the podcast, my interview with Carol Quirk (CEO of the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education). We discuss what it really takes for school systems to move to a model where 90% of all students with disabilities are included in general education classrooms. It is not only a pipe dream.  References:  MCIE The Segregation of Students with Disabilities by the National Disability Council For audio transcripts click here:
June 11, 2020
BONUS: To Waiver or Not To Waiver / Betsy DeVos Gives Her Recommendations to Congress
For so many of us, whether you are an educator, parent, or both, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a strain on all of us. And in late March, when word got out that Betsy DeVos was going to possibly recommend waiving part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) because of the hardship that the coronavirus was putting on the educational system, we all got nervous.  Today on the podcast, my interview with Denise Marshall (the Executive Director of Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys) and Jennifer Lesh (the President of the Council for Exceptional Children) where we discuss Betsy DeVos's recommendations to Congress. References COPAA CEC (Free Membership Code: CECED60) NPR: Secretary DeVos Forgoes Waiving Disability Law Amid School Closures HuffPost: To Access Online Services, New Jersey Students With Disabilities Must Promise Not To Sue For audio transcripts click here:
April 29, 2020
Including Students with Intellectual Disabilities in General Education
Today on the podcast, we are going to talk about modifying curriculum. For my students back in Pasadena, CA, according to their IEP, the team agreed that this was the best way to access the curriculum. To take a part of the standards and then modify it down to where they were able to meaningfully participate in it. I talk with Juanita Pritchard, an intellectual disabilities specialist, about how we can do this for our students who require it. Also, I wanted to share a resource before we get started. Nicole Eredics book, Inclusion in Action, gives specific strategies on how to modify the curriculum for students who are in general education classrooms. I know a lot of educators who are put into a position where they receive no training on how to do this and are just expected to "make inclusion work." If you are one of those educators or know educators who could benefit from this resource direct them to Inclusion in Action.
February 23, 2020
Christina Samuels & Jackie Mader | Unprepared Teachers and the Special Educator Shortage
Today on the podcast, I interview Christina Samuels of Education Week.  We discuss Ed Week's Special Report called Special Education: Practice and Pitfalls. It takes a look at the shortage of special education teachers, how co-teaching strategies enhance the effectiveness of education for all students, and how to encourage parents and students to advocate for their needs. In 2017, the Hechinger Report published a story about how some educators feel unprepared to teach in classrooms where students with and without disabilities learn together. I wanted to know more about this story, so I invited Jackie Mader, the journalist who wrote the article to talk to me about why this issue was so important to her.
November 2, 2019
Mike McHargue & Erin Green | Same-Sex Relationships, Autism, & Inclusion
Today on the podcast, my interview with Mike McHargue, speaker and author of Finding God in the Waves, host of the Ask Science Mike podcast and contributor to the Liturgists Podcast. We talk about his recent diagnosis of autism and his thoughts about how disability, sexual identity, and faith intersect. Also, Erin Green (Co-Director of Brave Commons) shares with us what she thinks the biggest barrier to inclusion is for LGBTQ students at Christian universities.
October 1, 2019
Julie Causton | Inclusive Schooling
Today on the podcast, our guest is Dr. Julie Causton, creator Inclusive Schooling, an engaging community for educators, administrators, and parents who seek to create more inclusive schools.  We discuss six strategies for families who desire for their children to be educated in an inclusive classroom.  Follow Julie and Inclusive Schooling on Facebook and Twitter!
July 5, 2019
Erin Studer | CHIME Institute
Today on the podcast, our guest is Dr. Erin Studer, principal of CHIME charter school. We discuss how CHIME has made full inclusion work since the 90s and how they can serve as a model for what is possible for schools in the United States and beyond. Follow CHIME on Instagram and Twitter!
April 27, 2019
Lou Brown | Progress
Today on the podcast, our first guest of the new season is Lou Brown, co-founder of TASH (an organization that advocates for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs) and Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin. We discuss what supports for students with significant disabilities looked like before 1975 and the progress that we have made since then.
April 2, 2019
Season 7 Podcast Trailer
On this, our 7th season of the Think Inclusive Podcast, we will explore why, despite three decades of research that inclusive education produces better outcomes for people with and without disabilities, and a rich history of case law that interprets inclusion as a right, not a privilege for a select few, the promise of inclusion continues to be a struggle for students and their families. We will hear from school administrators, researchers, editors, and many more voices from disabled advocates, educators, parents and other stakeholders who desire to see a more inclusive world. Go to to subscribe or wherever you listen to podcasts. Don’t miss an episode.
February 21, 2019
#29 Marci Heit | QD Foodie
Do you like to play with your food? Of course you do! Today on the podcast we have Marci Heit, the founder of QD Foodie (, an innovative company that has produced a fantastic set of kitchen tools created with people of all abilities in mind. Learn the origins of this Kickstarter success story.
December 16, 2018
Q of the Week: What is the biggest barrier to inclusion?
We started something new this week and almost none of you knew about it. Our (slightly) failed experiment only strengthened our resolve. We want to hear from YOU (our podcast listeners)! What do you think is the biggest barrier to inclusion? Also, if you are brave enough to answer, what is your dream for inclusion? To leave us a message call (470) 315-0912 and we may use your voicemail on a future podcast. Don't be shy. We love that you download, listen, and share with your closest friends. Have a great week!
November 30, 2018
#28 Renay Marquez | ParaEducate
Today on the podcast we have paraeducator/blogger Renay Marquez. We talk about the story of her starting ParaEducate and resources to help paraeducators modify curriculum in inclusive classroom. We also talk about what steps educators can take to help move inclusion forward wherever they are.
November 25, 2018
#27 Jen Tennican | Hearts of Glass
Today on the podcast we have filmmaker Jen Tennican. We talk to her about her most recent project, Hearts of Glass, which she sees as an opportunity to raise awareness about local, sustainable food production and the need for inclusive, fair-paying job opportunities for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
November 4, 2018
#26 Annette Jett | Pre-Employment Transition Services
Today we have Annette Jett, the executive director of the non-profit Build Inclusion that provider of employment services in the state of Kentucky. We talk about what Pre-Employment Transition Services are and how you might be able to access them in your state. This interview is full of helpful tips about transition services so you might want to take notes.
October 28, 2018
#25 Beckett Haight | Inclusion and Why CompSci Isn't for Everyone
Today we have special education teacher Beckett Haight. We talk about his experience with differentiation and inclusion as an educator working on three different continents. We also discuss his recent TedX Talk, "Teaching Every Student CompSci or How to Code is Not the Answer."
October 12, 2018
#24 Dan Habib | Intelligent Lives
Today we have acclaimed filmmaker Dan Habib. We talk about his new film Intelligent Lives, a documentary that highlights the lives of people with intellectual disabilities that will make you rethink the very nature of how we measure intelligence.
September 18, 2018
#23 Nikki Heiman | My Creative Inclusion
Today we have Nikki Heiman from We talk about the biggest barriers to inclusive practices in schools today. We also discuss what has been the most effective strategy for helping change educators' mindsets about inclusion.
August 25, 2018
#22 Amanda Morin | NCLD and
Today we have Amanda Morin from the National Center for Learning Disabilities and the amazing online resource We talk about the transition back to school for students with disabilities. We also discuss strategies parents can use during IEP meetings when it is recommended for their child to move to a more restrictive setting.
August 19, 2018
#21 Paula Kluth | Universal Design Daily
Today we have Paula Kluth, nationally recognized author and speaker on the topic of inclusive education and autism. We talk about her latest book, Universal Design Daily, and how educators can learn to plan for all students by changing their mindset.
July 28, 2018
#20 Kristin Wiens | Northstar Paths
Today we have Kristin Wiens, an educator from British Columbia Canada and creator of Northstar Paths, a resource that has stop-motion animation and other beautiful visuals to help educators understand students with disabilities. We talk about the creation of Northstar Paths and what is next for Kristin and her outstanding illustrations.
July 21, 2018
#19 Noah Jack | Musician on the Autism Spectrum
Today we have Noah Jack, a musician on the autism spectrum. We talk about the release of his new single, Neighborhood, from his upcoming EP, All In The Family.
July 14, 2018
#18 Rob Horner | The Connection Between PBIS and ABA
Today we have Dr. Rob Horner, Director of the Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. We talk about the history of PBIS and the somewhat controversial foundation in Applied Behavioral Analysis.
July 7, 2018
#17 Zachary Fenell | The Cerebral Palsy Vigilante
Today we have speaker, marathoner, and author of two books, Zachary Fenell. The first, Off-Balanced, a memoir about what it was like growing up and living with Cerebral Palsy as well as a Rock Realities, a compilation of 13 interviews he did with indie and alternative rock musicians. We discuss his most recent endeavor, completing a marathon and all the challenges that came up for him being a person with cerebral palsy.
June 30, 2018
#16 John Spencer | Empower
Today we have John Spencer, speaker and author of Empower and Launch, entertaining and practical books that help us to rethink how we deliver content and engage students in the learning process. We talk about what it looks like to help students own their learning, including students with disabilities.
January 7, 2018
#15 Arielle Hobbs | The Lion League
Today we have Arielle Hobbs, founder of the Lion League, a fantastic organization that is changing how we build inclusive schools around the United States. We talk about what inclusion looks like in her family and how the Lion League is different from other "social inclusion" organizations.
November 28, 2017
#14 Emily & Kyle | The Accessible Stall
Today we have Emily and Kyle from the Accessible Stall Podcast (which if you are going to listen to any other podcast related to inclusion and disability - this is the one!) They keep it real about issues within the disability community. We talk about how and why they started The Accessible Stall. Also, we have a very interesting conversation about inclusive versus isolated special education schools and classrooms.
August 6, 2017
#13 Julia Bascom | Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Today we interview Julia Bascom, Executive Director of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. We talk about Autism Awareness...or is it Autism Acceptance?? Also, we travel 20 years into the future to talk about what Julia envisions for our world and autistic people.
April 12, 2017
#12 Disability Studies and the Future of Special Education
Today you will hear two edited interviews that I did from almost a year ago. The first is with Audri Gomez and Aja McKee, educators that have had experience in the classroom as well in teacher training. They give a unique perspective on how we can prepare teachers who are about to enter into the field of special education and also highlight what a degree in Disability Studies looks like. My second interview is with a Middle School teacher who works here in the Atlanta Metro Area. Her book SPED is about a fictional character, Jack Parker, as he navigates the complexities of having learning disabilities in 8th grade and being in special education.
April 14, 2015
#11 Debbie Taub | Alternate Assessment and Inclusion
Today I will be speaking with Debbie Taub, an expert in the field of special education alternate assessment. For those of you who don’t know, alternate assessment is the state test or portfolio that is administered or collected for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities - around 1-2 percent of all students in a typical school district.  I had the pleasure of visiting with her one evening in February of this year. Debbie and I discuss what exactly is alternate assessment and what it has to do with inclusion. At the end of the podcast, Debbie lists some resources that may be helpful for any educator who wants to know more about modifying grade-level curriculum for students with significant disabilities. Keystone Assesment Resources National Alternate Assessment Center Council for Exceptional Children TASH Dynamic Learning Maps - DLM is responsible for developing an Alternate Assessment based on the Common Core State Standards. National Cente
August 16, 2014
#10 Cheryl Jorgensen | Waiting for Inclusive Education
Today I will be speaking with Cheryl Jorgensen, one of the premier experts on inclusive education with over 30 years in the field. I had the pleasure of visiting with her one evening in January of this year. Cheryl and I discuss why it has taken so long for inclusive education to catch on in the United States and what needs to happen to break the barrier for it to become part of best practices for education. She even gives me advice on whether I need to quit my job or not. You will not want to miss her surprising answer.  Partners in Policymaking (MN) The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen J. Gould
May 13, 2014
#9 Russ Ewell | Inclusive Sports Programs
Today I will be speaking with Russ Ewell; the CEO of Digital Scribbler, Founder of Hope Technology Group which started Hope Technology School (a nationally recognized full-inclusion school and Founder of E-Soccer, an all-volunteer inclusive soccer program. Russ and I discuss the beginnings E-Soccer and how for all intents and purposes it happened by accident. We also talk about how sports programs can become more inclusive when everyone has the right attitude and gets training on how to be proactive instead of reactive. Russ even makes me blush near the end of the interview so make sure to listen to the entire podcast.
March 1, 2014
#8 Julie Causton | Inspire Inclusion
Today I will be speaking with Dr. Julie N Causton, an associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Leadership at Syracuse University and creator of the website Inspire Inclusion which includes a ten-part video series about inclusion for parents of children with disabilities. I had the pleasure of visiting with her one evening in November of last year. Julie and I discuss what the necessary steps for schools to become more inclusive which include, professional development, re-imagining school district's service delivery model, and using the law as leverage for systems change. This is one of the most interesting conversations on the podcast to date so please (if you can) listen to the entire episode.
January 22, 2014
#7 Dan Habib | Who Cares About Kelsey?
Today I will be speaking with Dan Habib about his new film Who Cares About Kelsey? **You may be familiar with Dan because of his previous groundbreaking documentary about his son "Including Samuel"** The film will be broadcast on public television beginning the weekend of September 28th. In addition to the film there are 11 mini-films available to watch on the website: that support the message of inclusion and positive behavior support. Dan and I talk about Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, the importance of leadership in systems change and the all-important question...who we think is going to win the World Series?
September 28, 2013
#6 Ariane Zurcher | A Conversation About Autism
Today I will be speaking with Ariane Zurcher, a Huffington Post blogger as well as creator of the blog Emma's Hope Book, a chronicle of sorts about her autistic daughter. She is one of the leading voices in the autism community and I had the pleasure of visiting with her one evening in June. Ariane and I discuss what it was like to go from knowing nothing about autism when her daughter was first diagnosed to being such a strong advocate for the autistic community. We briefly talk about inclusion and what that looks like in her family.
September 6, 2013
#5 Paula Kluth | Don't We Already Do Inclusion?
Today I will be speaking with Paula Kluth, an internationally renowned author and speak about inclusive education. Her books are some of my favorite resources and I am constantly recommending her work to my colleagues. A little confession about this was recorded in May and I am finally getting around to editing it. It has been a very busy summer with vacations and me being home with the kids. My littlest one just turned one and my wife and I are coming up on our 10th wedding anniversary. Anyways...during our conversation...Paula and I discuss whether reverse inclusion can be a stepping stone to authentic inclusion, we also discuss ways educators can promote inclusion at their local schools, as well as if technology in the classroom is all that it is cracked up to be.
September 6, 2013
#3 The Fialco Family | Starabella
Today I will be speaking with Marvin, Sharon and Dana Fialco...authors of the Starabella book series. Starabella is a new series of books about a very courageous little girl with learning differences who expresses her thoughts and feelings through music. The books are based on the real life experiences of Marvin and Sharon's daughter, Tara who exhibited a surprising musical talent when she was very young but would later present perplexing challenges. Not able at the time to get a diagnosis, they were left with a mystery. Tara would not be diagnosed with autism until she turned 21. Tara, now an adult, went on to earn a degree in Early Childhood Education. The Fialco's and I discuss what is was like to observe Tara's amazing musical talent and how she developed her voice through melodies and lyrics.
March 8, 2013
#2 Nicole Eredics | The Inclusive Class
Today I will be speaking with Nicole Eredics…co-host of the Inclusive Class Podcast on Nicole spent many years as a classroom teacher in British Columbia, Canada in a fully inclusive educational system before moving to the US a few years ago. Nicole and I discuss the differences between the Canadian and US educational system and their approaches to inclusion. We also talk about the most important ally for inclusion that a classroom teacher can have.
November 30, 2012