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Students Learn About Disabilities and Inclusion from Guest Reader

First-grade students at North Saginaw Charter Academy gathered around as guest reader Brad Gomoluch greeted them. Gomoluch is a Special Education Supervisor for Saginaw Township Schools and created a program to increase visibility about disabilities.
 
As he sat in front of the students in his wheelchair, he offered to take questions from the class.
 
“What happened to you?”
 
“Can you drive a car?”
 
“Do you live alone?”
 
Those were the questions expected by Gomoluch as well as North Saginaw Dean of Intervention and Special Education Stacy Georges. Georges helped facilitate the visit and learning opportunities that preceded it.
 
“We partnered with the Saginaw ISD for the Saginaw County Book Read program created by Brad,” Georges said. “He created this program to increase visibility and initiate important conversations with young people about inclusion and disabilities. They provided the first-grade teachers (Samantha Currie, Kristen Walderzak, and Meagan Hirzel) with a learning kit the week before his visit.”

 
Answering some of the questions from the students, Gomoluch noted that he was involved in a motorcycle accident 19 years ago, drives a car with hand controls, and lives with his teenage daughter.
 
Georges said Bomoluch read multiple books, including a book about a student who was blind, a student with autism, and another about a student who used a walker and leg braces.
 
“He taught each class the meaning of the word inclusion and how important it is to invite others to join activities, even if it means they use adaptations or accommodations,” Georges said.
 

He also emphasized the importance of first asking a person with disabilities if you could help them before just doing something automatically.
 
“That prompted discussions about independence,” Georges said. “Brad also shared that he is a ski instructor and uses a mono ski. He told a story of leading a blind skier down a mountain.”

About North Saginaw Charter Academy:
North Saginaw Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Saginaw, Michigan, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes over 95 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.