We Include has identified three key components to help administrators, teachers, and peers feel educated and comfortable with incorporating inclusion into classrooms and schools.

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The Truth About Sensory Sensitivities

You’ve probably seen the headlines: “Student with autism locked in a bathroom,” “Student with special needs dragged down a hallway by his arm,” “Child with disability arrested at school.”
It’s clear that many school districts are missing the mark when it comes to preventing and managing sensory overload. This section includes new research to expose the truth behind sensory sensitivities and change the educational experience for students with disabilities.
Help Us Gather, the nonprofit that inspired We Include, learned firsthand from men and women with sensory sensitivities what the student experience was like for them, and the root cause behind it. Through dozens of firsthand accounts, along with a supporting interview from Dr. Temple Grandin, the truth behind sensory meltdowns became clear.
Adults that experienced sensory overload in the classroom as a child agree that they were not able to express what was happening to them in their younger years. As adults, they were able to reflect back and describe what happened to provoke their response. The answer was the same in every interview: pain.
Sadly, mainstream thinking teaches that sensory overload is a behavioral issue and students can be taught not to display certain behaviors.

Popular Misconceptions

The Facts

  • Meltdowns are the result of behavioral issues.

  • Most meltdowns are caused by a reaction to pain from sensory inputs like sound, light, texture, etc.

  • Hand flapping is disruptive and students should be taught not to do it.

  • Hand flapping is a common and effective way to regulate senses and prevent sensory overload.

  • When a student with special needs appears to be ignoring you, they’re doing it on purpose.

  • Sensory overload can temporarily make someone unable to hear. This happens when the body goes into a “fight-or-flight” mode in response to the pain caused by sensory input.

  • There is very little a teacher can do to improve the situation for a student with a disability.

  • Small changes make a big difference. Click here to find out how you can make your classroom sensory-friendly.

Children exhibit signs of a sensory processing disorder


How to Handle Meltdowns at School

One of the issues educators face is understanding what contributes to meltdowns in students with special needs and how to effectively handle them.
When students are in emotional or physical pain, it can trigger a “fight-or-flight” reaction that is often misdiagnosed as a behavioral issue. Click the link below to learn more about what can lead to meltdowns and how to prevent them in the classroom and at schools.


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of students with autism cover their ears in the classroom

Students cover their ears in response to physical discomfort from sound. Finding solutions to stop pain in a school environment is important.


Gym Teachers: This is For You

Gym teachers often struggle to balance physical education and sensory issues in some students. Noises, lights, and crowds can cause physical and mental pain for students with sensory processing disorders (SPD) and other disabilities. So what is the solution?
We give you Mark Fleming. He’s the nation’s leading expert in inclusive exercise. He gained international fame as the first trainer with autism in the U.S. to own and operate his own fitness studio for clients with special needs. His trailblazing techniques have been featured on major outlets like CNN, NowThis, and Yahoo!.



Put an End to Bullying

Statistics show almost 75% of students with disabilities are bullied. This has lasting negative effects on a child’s development and how well they do in school. Children who bully others are emotionally unwell. It’s time for teachers, school administrators, parents, and peers to join forces to put an end to bullying.


Bullying and Students with Disabilities

We Include created a guide for students to help them understand the mind of a bully, how to not be one, and what to do when they see someone at their school—especially a student with disabilities—being targeted.
This is also a great resource for teachers to help educate their students. If you would like the We Include team to send you a copy, email info@weinclude.org.

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