Author Q&A: Lisa Lightner

Lisa Lightner is an Award-Winning Special Education Advocate and Blogger who resides in southeastern Pennsylvania. She holds and has held numerous Director positions on boards for education and disability-related organizations. She is currently on the Parent Advisory Committee for Education Voters PA and Devereaux Advanced Behavioral Health Family Advisory Board. Learn more about Lisa’s work at A Day In Our Shoes. She also publishes a list of 25 Amazing Inclusion Books for Kids.

What was your motivation and vision for creating the blog, A Day In Our Shoes?

It really started as my own online filing cabinet, so to speak. I would have friends and acquaintances email me with IEP questions, and I was tired of typing of the same responses over and over. So, I started making the posts more full of information, and more generalized, to appeal to more parents. As time went on, I realized that the key to fixing some of our special education issues is educating parents, so that’s what I aim to do.

What is one of your favorite children’s books with an inclusion theme? Why is it a favorite and what are your suggestions as to how the book may be used to support inclusion?

My favorite will always be Mikayla’s Voice. During my very first lobbying trip to Harrisburg, Mikayla and her mom Kim were part of our group. Kevin and I had the opportunity to meet them and spend the day with them, and they gifted us a book. It’s stained, wrinkled and tattered…but we still read it, often! Sadly Mikayla passed earlier this year, but Kim (mom) and I still keep in touch and are Facebook friends.

The theme for Inclusive Schools Week 2019 is “Charting the Course For Inclusive Schools.” What are some ways you address the challenges of making schools inclusive in your work?

Until you are awakened to the “inclusion mindset,” you really don’t get it. I think some schools are trying, but they don’t know what they don’t know. Inclusion is not a place or a program, it’s a mindset. I once heard a mom state the phrase: The question isn’t ‘Is my child ready for the classroom?’ but it’s, ‘Is the classroom ready for my child?’ I think that sums it up.