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OTS 127: Changing the Culture: Effective Approaches to Inclusion

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Welcome to the show notes for Episode 127 of the OT Schoolhouse Podcast.

Have you ever wondered how to make your school more inclusive?

On this episode, Jenna Rufo, Ed.D., is here to discuss post-pandemic special education. She shares her philosophy on education and inclusion, offering strategies to get administrators on board with an inclusive approach. She discusses some positive outcomes of virtual learning during the pandemic, including increased collaboration among teachers and parents and a greater understanding of individual student needs.

Tune in to this episode for information on creating more inclusive schools and supporting all students!

Listen now to learn the following objectives:

  • Learners will identify the definition of inclusion and the importance of recognizing disability as a form of diversity

  • Learners will identify how OTPs can support and provide services to all students through collaboration between special and general educators

  • Learners will identify how the pandemic allowed for a shift in perspective with flexibility and understanding of students’ needs

Guest(s) Bio

Dr. Jenna Mancini Rufo is an educational consultant and the founder and CEO of Empower ED School Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in special education and inclusion.

Dr. Rufo currently provides professional development on inclusive practices and related topics to school districts, organizations, and families in 15 states and Australia.

She is the co-author of Reimagining Special Education: Using Inclusion As a Framework To Build Equity and Support All Students, and The Way to Inclusion: Creating Schools Where Every Student Belongs.

Prior to her work as a consultant, Dr. Rufo served as a special education teacher, inclusion facilitator, policy specialist for the Massachusetts Department of Education, Special Education Director, and Assistant Superintendent.

She was inspired to enter the field of education by her sister Nina, who has multiple disabilities and complex support needs. Dr. Rufo views education as her calling and is passionate about creating an equitable school system for ALL learners.


“Inclusion is a philosophy, and it's a practice…looking at students for their strengths, rather than their deficits”.

-Jenna Rufo, Ed.D.

“That system of sorting and labeling really pigeonholes students from a very young age”.

-Jenna Rufo, Ed.D.

“We really have to look at how do we reshape our instruction, utilizing principles of universal design, so that we're accounting for variability in student learning profiles and giving them opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge”

-Jenna Rufo, Ed.D.

“We can support teachers without necessarily having an IEP in place. One of the ways to do that is through in services, or even an observation of the classroom”

-Jayson Davies, MA, OTR/L


Episode Transcript

Expand to view the full episode transcript.

Click on the file below to download the transcript to your device.

Ep 127 - Changing the Culture_ Effective Approaches to Inclusion
Download PDF • 173KB

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