We’re Talking Inclusion & LRE with Courtney Hansen

January 4, 2021

Do you ever wonder how the experts do it? What if a poli-sci major that worked as a journalist and knew how to get the bottom of things…

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Do you ever wonder how the experts do it?  What if  a poli-sci major that worked as a journalist and knew how to get the bottom of things got a Masters degree in education and then had a child with Down syndrome?  How would SHE advocate for inclusion?  Friends, meet Courtney Hansen, Rockstar Inclusion Advocate!  

Courtney joins me in this week’s episode to talk all things Inclusion.  Her story as a mother to twins, one of whom has Down syndrome, is where we start, because the fact that her boys are twins is the fuel behind her advocacy fire.  Courtney’s unique spin on inclusion sure left me inspired and contemplative.  

In this discussion Courtney addresses lots of FAQs about inclusion like: Why does inclusion work? How can school staff and parents collaborate to build the best inclusive plan for a child?  And what strategies do you use to help families get more inclusive placements for students on IEPs?  

Courtney talks a lot about relationships and the importance of really describing your child to his or her teachers.  She encourages parents to work hard on their Parent Interest Statements, to communicate with teachers and school staff, and to get involved in school.  Her specific examples are super helpful, and if you’re looking for a place to start, you could download my free guide on writing Parent Interest statements here.  

Want to know more about Inclusion?  Check out the Inclusion Workshop and download Episode 7, where we talk about LRE and inclusion, as well!

Meet The Guest:

Courtney Hansen has a Master’s in Education, and taught secondary education before staying home to advocate for her son with Down syndrome. As a military spouse, that moves often, she has also been able to help other families advocate for their child with a disability in Ohio and Washington state. She is a Council of Parents and Attorneys Special Education Advocacy Training (SEAT 1.0) Instructor, and has worked to pass disability rights legislation at the state level. Courtney is a fierce advocate for full inclusion in the Least Restrictive Environment, and specializes in helping students and their families navigate the IEP process to gain access to the general education classroom with appropriate supports. Check out Courtney’s blog at or “Down Syndrome Inclusion Evolution” on Facebook to learn more about inclusion. 

Parent Interest Statement:

Inclusion Workshop:

Join me for the 2021 New Year’s SPED Parent Challenge here:

Episode 7: Least Restrictive Environment/ Inclusion:

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