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You can't learn to swim in the parking lot of the pool!! 

September 24, 2019 at 12pm EST

Norm Kunc & Emma Van der Klift

YES! I want to hear more!

At This Live, Interactive Masterclass



How traditional special education is based on a problematic presumption that ability needs to precede opportunity.



How inclusive education, by offering students the opportunity to participate in real life situations, provides the foundation and context to learn relevant and meaningful skills.

Norm will describe how the times of greatest progress in his life as a disabled student happened not when his teachers focused on remediation and rehabilitation, but instead chose to focus on giving him the opportunity to take part in regular activities.



How opportunity by itself is not enough; it must be accompanied by appropriate supports.

Emma will describe her experience of having unlimited opportunity, but how she lacked the needed supports to be successful, and suggests what might have made a difference for her.


How you can help others to understand why opportunity for students with disabilities is appropriate even when someone thinks that they aren't "ready." 

Sometimes we are faced with the challenge of trying to advocate for an opportunity for our kids or our students when others think that it is too soon or that the child won't ever be ready. We know this isn't right. But it can be hard to describe why it isn't right. This presentation will give you the words you need to express what you already know.  

"Norman and Emma have a way of explaining complex issues in a down to earth, understandable and humorous way. You don't have to have a graduate degree to understand these issues. You just need teachers like Emma and Norm to help you become the every day expert that the person in your life with a disability needs. "

GENIA STEPHEN, Founder of Good Things in Life

School matters. It shapes our children's lives...

In this interactive presentation, filled with humour and personal anecdotes Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift will draw on their experience as two adults with different disabilities who experienced the school system in different ways and with different degrees of success.

They will argue that there is an ongoing confusion about the relationship between ability and opportunity that we must grapple with in order to ensure that inclusive education truly lives up to its promise.

Who are Norm & Emma?

Although Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift are well known speakers and advocates within the disability rights community, they prefer to think of themselves as modern day storytellers, continuing the long held tradition of using humour and narrative to initiate self-reflection and social change.

Norman and Emma travel extensively throughout North America and abroad providing in-service and training in the areas of inclusive education, employment equity, conflict resolution, and other disability rights issues. Norman and Emma have written a book together as well as numerous journal articles, and book chapters.

Born with cerebral palsy, Norman attended a segregated school for children with physical disabilities; then, at the age 13, he was integrated into a regular school. From there, he went on to complete an Bachelor's degree in Humanities and a Master of Science degree in Family Therapy.

In his undergraduate years, Norman wrote a book about his experiences of going to a regular school. This book catapulted him into a career as a speaker, writer, scholar and advocate.

Emma Van der Klift is a neurodivergent speaker, author and activist. Diagnosed as Autistic as an adult,  she has embraced the diagnosis with a sense of relief, recognition and confirmation. Although she worked in the non-profit sector supporting individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities for many years, like many other autistic girls and women, she did not recognize her experience as represented in the common societal narratives. Since discovering a supportive and vibrant community of other autistic adults and allies, she has become an active member of the Neurodiversity movement.

Emma holds a Master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Management from Royal Roads University and was certified as a mediator and negotiator through the Justice Institute in Vancouver. She sometimes wonders if she might be the only autistic mediator!

When Norm and Emma aren't working, they enjoy cycling, good food, and chess. Emma has recently published a book, based on her Master’s thesis, about what teachers and support workers can learn from hostage negotiators about de-escalation.


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