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Social Inclusion as Social Justice

Preparing Trainees to Engage with Culturally Diverse Communities

Mirian Ofonedu, PhD, LCSW-C, is the Director of Training at the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities at Kennedy Krieger Institute. Dr. Ofonedu coordinated efforts to launch the Diverse, Racial, Ethnic and Multicultural Special Interest Group (DREAM-SIG) of the American Psychological Association (APA), Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice (Division 37).  She currently serves as the APA Division 37's Member-at-Large for Taskforce and Diversity Initiatives.

In her recent publication, Dr. Ofonedu reminded all that "social inclusion is a basic human right and not respecting it is a human wrong." She calls for a need to rewrite the narratives of social inclusion, social rights and social protection of children and youth with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and offers reasons to practice social inclusion across all systems. Read more. In collaboration with Inclusion Matters and the Clinton's Foundation Too Small to Fail national lunch and learn session, Dr. Ofonedu discussed mental health and social inclusion for children with disabilities. She shared insight and real-world strategies to help children with and without disabilities thrive as we continue to navigate the pandemic. Watch here.

In a summary piece, following a conversational hour of the APA Division 37's DREAM-SIG, Dr. Ofonedu calls for culturally responsible reopening of in-person schools and work. She discussed best practices to ensure a smooth transition to in-person activities and reminded providers to adjust their expectations and meet people where they are especially because the pandemic has affected students, families, and communities unequally. Dr. Ofonedu noted, "meaningful inclusion of diverse voices and abilities is essential to creating safer and more equitable post-pandemic learning and work environments." Read more.

Dr. Ofonedu also shares practical strategies for preparing trainees to engage with and in culturally diverse communities, as part of the 2020 AUCD Conference.  View the webinar to learn about the strategies identified by 5 UCEDD and LEND program leaders.

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