Shape

Community Activies

Shape

I AM NORM

In 2010 at age 20, Tyler was chosen to attend an Inclusion Summit in Washington DC. A total of twenty young men and women, both with disabilities and able-bodied, were invited. The task before this group was to create a national campaign around Inclusion. After much deliberation, activities, and discussion, the group produced the “I AM NORM” campaign that quickly spread across the nation. There are several videos you can view attached below. Please make sure you watch “The Exciting Birth of I am Norm” video attached. It tells the story well. Tyler was flattered and honored to be asked to join this group. Their work was enjoyable, meaningful, and successful. The I AM NORM campaign was used in universities across the country. It was used as a focal point for conferences and think tanks. It was used by organizations, actors, and countless others nationally as a way of reminding everyone that “We are who we are” … we are all NORM.

The “I AM NORM” campaign earned a Champions award. The award was given by The National Inclusion Project at its annual conference and fundraiser in North Carolina. The gala benefit celebration featured Champions presentations and addresses by Project co-founders Diane Bubel and Clay Aiken. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in both silent and live auctions and the night concluded with a special performance by Clay Aiken. Champions were selected by the National Inclusion Project for their substantive efforts to ensure no child sits on the sidelines in support of the Project’s mission.  Tyler is pictured with Clay Aiken and Diane Bubel below at the award ceremony where Tyler was asked to speak for the I AM NORM group and accept the award on their behalf.

From the National Inclusion Project website: In January 2010, twenty young people, with and without disabilities, from various locations across the United States met each other for the very first time in Washington, DC. In just one weekend, they designed a campaign in hopes of bringing about that change. Through this campaign, they hope to raise awareness about inclusion, provide opportunities for youth to share their ideas about inclusion, and promote inclusive practices in schools and communities. They want to encourage the acceptance, respect, and full inclusion of all youth, in schools and communities through an initiative designed by young people. Their work is driven by a Youth Inclusion Taskforce and supported by a coalition of youth-serving partner organizations. I AM NORM.

Read More

Inclusion Connection

Inclusion Connection – From the Inclusion Connection website:

Our Goal:
An ordinary life (for everyone).

​Our Philosophy:
Every person, regardless of their degree of ability; has the same need to be affirmed, valued, appreciated and included. Everyone can contribute. Everyone belongs. Everyone deserves to be respected.

It is important for all of us to interact and support each other if we are to have an accepting and inclusive world. We all benefit when, regardless of our ability or disability, we socialize, work and participate in community life together.

The Inclusion Connection wants to see everyone have a voice in matters that affect them and a choice regarding what they do with their life.

Our Mission:
Promoting inclusive communities that live, learn, work and play together.

The Inclusion Connection is all about, of course, Inclusion. Inclusion specifically for people with disabilities in all pieces of their lives. The Inclusion Connection breaks this down into four areas: Live, Learn, Work, and Play. Tyler’s involvement was coordinating the efforts of the Play area.

Tyler used the program Together We Play (TWP) to facilitate most of the efforts in Play. TWP was created in the Cedar Valley first by the Family YMCA of Black Hawk County and was eventually taken over by the Inclusion Connection. It is based on programming from Kids Included Together (KIT), a national organization based in San Diego, California.

Through the TWP program, Tyler partnered with organizations, mostly in the Cedar Valley, that provide programs, activities, or other services to youth. Most of these partners serve people of all ages. By being a partner with TWP, the organization had access to Inclusion and Ability Awareness training for their staff, boards, and volunteers. They also had access to consulting services for reviewing organization policies and marketing efforts, for example.

Tyler loved to do the training. He loved to work with the organizations, especially working with people, to help them understand what real Inclusion looks like. And they, in turn, loved to work with him. Some of the partnering organizations were: Family YMCA of Black Hawk County, Waterloo Public Library, Cedar Falls Recreation Division, Waverly Public Library, Living History Farms in Des Moines, The Des Moines Arts Center, Waverly Leisure Services, Hearst Center for the Arts, and many more.

Read More

Kids As Self Advocates (KASA)

Tyler was one of nine youth selected to join a national council, Kids As Self Advocates (KASA). KASA was sponsored and supported by Family Voices. KASA was a national, grassroots project created by youth with disabilities for youth.

The group provided information and support for youth so they could make choices and advocate for themselves. KASA members were leaders in their communities, and spread helpful, positive information among their peers to increase knowledge around different issues, and to help each other succeed. They also helped health care professionals, policy makers, and other adults in their communities understand what it is like to be a youth with a disability.

KASA met several times a year, researched needs of the disability community, and prepared documents to address and resolve those needs. KASA has now been replaced by Youth As Self Advocates (YASA). Tyler and his KASA family met and marched in the Chicago Disability Pride parade and spoke up and out on many pressing issues.

From the Family Voices website: Family Voices is a national family-led organization of families and friends of children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) and disabilities. We connect a network of family organizations across the United States that provide support to families of CYSHCN. We promote partnership with families at all levels of health care–individual and policy decision-making levels—in order to improve health care services and policies for children. Youth as Self Advocates (YASA), formerly known as Kids as Self Advocates, is a national advisory board of teen and young adult leaders with disabilities who represent diverse races and cultures, have different disabilities and health care needs, and come from different regions of the country.

Read More

Special Education Advisory Panel (SEAP)

Special Education Advisory Panel (SEAP) – Iowa Dept of Education – Members of SEAP are appointed by the Iowa Governor and serve a three-year term. Tyler was asked to serve on SEAP and he gladly accepted. His input was valued and considered credible. In its website, the Iowa Dept of Education describes the important work of SEAP this way:

Iowa’s SEAP is a collaborative resource that envisions its role as an advocate for all children with special needs and their families on issues of special education in Iowa. As such, it is committed to representing individuals with diverse and changing educational needs. SEAP shall have, and will perform, functions and duties as specified by law. Responsibilities include offering advice, consultation, and recommendations to the Iowa Department of Education regarding matters concerning special education services.

The role of the panel members is to advise, not advocate, for an individual position. Advise means to inform, counsel, recommend, suggest or guide. To advocate means to plead for your case or position, to favor an individual case or argument. The advisory panel is to provide advice, based on facts and good judgment.

Belief Statements

Members of the Iowa Special Education Advisory Panel believe that:
• We are strong advocates for all students.
• Our work is done with integrity and respect for children, families and all Panel members.
• We are creative problem solvers, and team players who continually seek to use current
knowledge.
• We build relationships and enjoy one another which helps build consensus and leads to a
quality, committed Panel.

Members of the Iowa SEAP believe that quality special education in Iowa should:
• Be a shared responsibility involving the collaborative efforts of school, families, students and
community.
• Be provided in an appropriate, least restrictive environment.
• Be child-centered, results-oriented, and specifically designed for the individual.
• Address needs when they arise.
• Be supported by qualified, competent, caring staff; and adequate, equitable resources.
• Ensure attainment of real skills.

And therefore, students with disabilities will:
• Graduate                                                                       • Achieve reading and math skills
• Be in the classroom                                                   • Stay in school
• Be with their peers                                                     • Achieve growth
• Receive education without bias                            • Be evaluated in a timely manner
• Transition successfully

Parents will:
• Be meaningfully involved

Schools will:
• Be accountable for success of students (impacted by others)
• Have discipline policies

Read More