We Include helps administrators, teachers, and peers feel educated and comfortable with incorporating inclusion into classrooms and schools.

Creating inclusive schools is possible. It takes open-minded school administrators who are willing to consider that the value of inclusion outweighs the growing pains of change. It takes teachers who are willing to listen to research and make adjustments in the classroom when needed. It takes students who are taught to see the value in diversity.
That seems achievable, right?
Let’s start by helping to positively change one of the biggest challenges that administrators, teachers and students are faced with when creating inclusive learning: sensory meltdowns in the classroom.

"When I was a little kid I had a lot of problems with sound sensitivity. Sensory problems are real." -Dr. Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin is the single most influential person with autism in modern times. One look at her life reveals an incredibly gifted mind paired with an unbreakable spirit. With her life’s work, she accomplished the impossible. Temple Grandin changed the world’s perception of what it means to live with autism.
Temple invented an internationally-renowned therapy device; she earned a Ph.D.; she wrote and published papers, articles, and books; she tours the world as a famous animal welfare speaker and autism advocate, and she revolutionized the way animals are handled and treated. She’s amazing. She’s wonderful. She’s inspirational. She works hard and she talks straight.
Dr. Grandin accredits much of her success to the teachers who encouraged and challenged her to keep growing outside her comfort zone. She describes her teachers as “absolutely vital”. Her story is proof that excellent educators can change the course of a student’s life.

of students with autism cover their ears in the classroom

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

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 students’ educational experience 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. Through dozens of firsthand accounts, along with a supporting interview from Dr. Temple Grandin, the truth behind sensory meltdowns became clear.
Adults who experienced sensory overload in the classroom as a child agree that they could not express what was happening to them in their younger years. As adults, they were able to reflect and describe what provoked 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. That’s just simply not true.

Common 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 & 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 below to learn more about what leads to meltdowns and how to prevent them in the classroom and at schools.


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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. Bullying has lasting adverse 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 understand a bully’s mind, how not to be one, and what to do when they see someone at their school, especially a student with disabilities, is being targeted.
This guide is also a helpful resource for teachers to educate their students. If you would like the We Include team to send you a copy, email [email protected].

Get the Guide