Allies in The Community

In August 2020 Professor Kristy McCowan started using Season 1 of Born Fabulous Podcast in her class, training student teachers at Radford University in Virginia. Professor McCowan has graciously provided her outline for all to see. I greatly appreciate Radford’s efforts to prepare future educators so they are able to effectively reach all types of learners. Radford believes in true inclusion, and their efforts are headed by respected inclusion expert, Dr. Liz Alteri. – Greta Harrison

Directions: This capstone project will be completed in three phases: a) peer-journals, b) reflection, and
c) application. For this project, you will need to download or access an online application that allows you to listen to podcasts. Then, you will search and subscribe to, “Born Fabulous.” See the artwork above to make sure you have subscribed to the correct podcast.

Follow the directions below to complete the assignment:

  • Part 1: Peer-Journal (80 points, each journal is worth 20 points each)
    You will work with a partner in the classroom to complete this component of the assignment. Note- you will keep the same partner for the entirety of this project. Throughout the semester, you will listen to four podcasts, and you will complete four journal entries. Each journal entry must consist of:
    • Three initial reactions you had to the podcast
    • One note that educators could learn from this podcast, such as a viewpoint from a parent’s perspective or noting a common mistake regarding inclusive practices
    • One note that families of individuals with disabilities could learn from this podcast, such as the importance of advocating for your child or the knowledge that they are not the only family dealing with stigmatization or prejudice.
    • One question posed to your partner

You will respond to each of your partner’s four journal entries and include a descriptive answer to the question they posed to you.

***You may use a shared Google Doc, email, or even text to complete the journals together. However, the finished product should be compiled into one Microsoft Word Document- free of grammatical errors.  

  • Part 2: Reflection Piece (100 points)

After finishing the podcasts and journal summaries, you will then reflect on the information you gathered, and could be shared as a reflective educational piece with others. You will first introduce the audience to the individual highlighted in your podcasts, using People First language. You will then identify common characteristics of individuals with Downs Syndrome that you recognized from the podcasts (consider what you learned in class). You will provide a brief description of the educational history of this individual, including the difficulties/stigmatization endured by the student. You will note the perspective from the family and how they handled the limitations their son or daughter faced in the school system. Finally, you will explain how the individual and his or her family overcame these difficulties to accomplish their goals and become successful.


  • Part 3: Application (100 points)

After reflecting on the journey of either Mellissa or Tim, you will come up with an educational plan for the individual you chose. What are the best practices for supporting him or her in elementary school? How would you support him or her in high school? Knowing his or her interests, how would you make an enriching course load for this student in high school? Finally, how would you encourage this student to have meaningful friendships and communication skills before entering the post-secondary world?


***Extra credit: You can receive extra credit (up to 20 points) for this assignment if you write a reflection about ONE of the following:

1. Each of these individuals were successful partly because they had family members of privilege. How might his or her educational experience compare to someone whose family does not experience racial, social or economic privilege?
2. How have things changed since Mellissa or Tim were in the public-school system? Are they better, worse, or the same? Explain.

Document Credit: Kristy McCowan