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Looking for ways to help students of ALL abilities within your school experience inclusion? Use this timeline and the offered resources to plan upcoming Unified programming and celebrations. This semester offers plenty of chances to educate, inspire, and INCLUDE! To request support from the Unified Champion Schools teams, email ucs@somd.org with any questions.

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What

SPREAD THE WORD >> INCLUSION, a campaign created and reimagined by youth, is intended to promote the creation of a new reality: inclusion for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This campaign empowers grassroots leaders across Maryland to engage and influence their schools, communities, and workplaces by advocating for language and practices that are respectful and inclusive of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

When

The annual day of awareness is held the first Wednesday of March. While most activities are centered on or near that annual day in March, people everywhere can help spread the word throughout their communities and schools year-round through pledge drives, youth rallies and online activation.

Who

Spread the Word to End the Word (now Spread the Word>> Inclusion) was founded by college students, and continues to be led by passionate young people, along with Special Olympics athletes and Best Buddies participants across the United States and in many other parts of the world.

Why

Language affects attitudes. Attitudes impact actions. Fostering positive and respectful language and action is essential to the movement for the full, dignified inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in all elements of society.

How
  • Take the ONLINE PLEDGE to join the Inclusion Revolution! Have members of your school & community tell SOMD why they pledge to value and live inclusion. Your pledge may even be featured on our site!
  • Print out this PLEDGE FLYER and distribute it far and wide. Designate a common area to hang up flyers, make inclusion visible and obvious! 
  • Make SOCIAL POSTS about your pledge to Spread the Word>>Inclusion. Social media tools will be provided on our page.
  • Use SOMD’s Spread the Word VIRTUAL BACKGROUND for all your video meetings and classes to help start conversations about inclusion!
  • Gear up with some INCLUSIVE T-SHIRTS!

In 2019, Spread the Word to End the Word became Spread the Word, with a focus not just on the elimination of a word but on the creation of a new reality: inclusion for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The global engagement campaign remains committed to empowering grassroots leaders to change their communities, schools, and workplaces, now through a call to their peers to take action for inclusion. With this change, Spread the Word will give community leaders around the world the tools needed to create socially inclusive places to learn, work, and live.

This toolkit is a brief, one-stop-shop for anyone celebrating the benefits of an inclusive learning environment. Whether you’re a student, parent, teacher, administrator, or any other champion of inclusion -- read on! Questions? Want to know more? Contact us: UCS@somd.org

Autism Acceptance Month

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Morning Announcements

Use the facts on our Autism Acceptance Morning Announcements Template as an opportunity to learn about Autism spectrum disorder as a school community.

Puzzle in the Parking Lot

Get that sidewalk chalk out! Reserve a part of your school’s parking lot or sidewalk that people will see, draw out some chalk puzzle pieces, and invite your school community to color them in, representing the idea that each individual is an irreplaceable piece of the larger puzzle of your community.

Connect with an Organization

Connect with an autism advocacy organization to see how you can promote inclusion of individuals with autism. Search for Maryland Autism organizations: Find a Listing » (pathfindersforautism.org)

Light it up Blue

Plan a day to “Light it up Blue” -- have everyone in your school wear blue to raise awareness and understanding of Autism: Light It Up Blue | Autism Speaks

Sample Social Media

Make SOCIAL POSTS about your efforts to promote Autism Awareness Month. Copy and paste our sample content and use our graphics, or make your own!

Community Messaging Templates

Use our COMMUNITY MESSAGING TEMPLATES to involve your community in your efforts for Autism Awareness Month. Copy, paste, and customize our sample content to spread the word efficiently.

Use our Autism Acceptance Month activities to engage your schools all month long!

Learn about how common Autism spectrum disorder is, how every diagnosis is as different as the person, and that we are each individuals with our own strengths and abilities.

World Health Day

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Health Postcards

Use these Brief Educational Postcards to learn about key health topics like Nutrition, Hydration, Sun Safety, and Physical Activity.

BINGO!

Pick a week in April, and challenge your peers to reach healthy Bingo by the end of the week! Download the card to unlock the workouts in each box. Or create your own health challenge based on the interests of your student body.

How do you stay healthy?

Show us how you stay healthy with the Instagram “How do you self-care” activity-- don’t forget to share your self-care journey on social media!

Sample Social Media

Make SOCIAL POSTS about your efforts to promote World Health Day. Copy and paste our sample content and use our graphics, or make your own!

Community Messaging Templates

Use our COMMUNITY MESSAGING TEMPLATES to involve your community in your efforts for World Health Day. Copy, paste, and customize our sample content to spread the word efficiently.

Use our World Health Day activities to engage your school on Wednesday, April 7th!

Have students of ALL abilities share about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle to play well and live well. You could make it a part of the morning announcements, a school-wide health challenge, or another project that will get the attention of the student body.

National Student Leadership Week

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Inclusivity Day

Hold an Inclusivity Day, where existing clubs brainstorm ways they can become more inclusive.

Morning Announcements

Use our Student Leadership Week Morning Announcements Template to challenge students to think of themselves as leaders, and spotlight strengths they have that make them their own kind of leader.

Sample Social Media

Make SOCIAL POSTS about your efforts to promote National Student Leadership Week. Copy and paste our sample content and use our graphics, or make your own!

Community Messaging Templates

Use our COMMUNITY MESSAGING TEMPLATES to involve your community in your efforts for National Student Leadership Week. Copy, paste, and customize our sample content to spread the word efficiently.

Use our National Student Leadership Week activities to engage your school April 18th through the 24th!

Inspire students of ALL abilities to see themselves as agents of change.

Mental Health Awareness Month

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Morning Announcements

Using our Mental Health Awareness Month Morning Announcement Template, students of all abilities can lead their school community in some brief & easy stress management exercises from STRONG MINDS Activity Cards.

Share your self-care!

Show us how you keep yourself healthy with the Instagram “How do you self-care” activity-- don’t forget to share your self-care journey on social media!

Tools 2 Thrive

Check out the “Tools 2 Thrive” Mental Health Month toolkit for excellent printable handouts, worksheets, media materials, and MORE!

Community Messaging Templates

Use our COMMUNITY MESSAGING TEMPLATES to involve your community in your efforts for Mental Health Awareness Month. Copy, paste, and customize our sample content to spread the word efficiently.

Sample Social Media

Make SOCIAL POSTS about your efforts to promote Mental Health Awareness Month. Copy and paste our sample content and use our graphics, or make your own!

Use our Mental Health Awareness Month activities to engage your school during the month of May!

Being “healthy” means more than keeping our bodies in shape. Let’s make sure we’re also caring for our minds and hearts, so we can truly play and live well!

National Physical Fitness & Sports Month

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Morning Announcements

Use our National Physical Fitness & Sport Month Morning Announcement Template as opportunities to learn about the importance of staying physically active in your school community.

Healthy BINGO

Challenge your peers to reach healthy Bingo within one week!  Download the card to unlock the workouts in each box. Or create your own health challenge based on the interests of your student body.

Elementary Level
Middle Level
  • Field Day Quick Student Activities from SHAPE America.
  • Have your class or club work out with Special Olympics’ Fit 5 exercises and challenges
  • Special Olympics Maryland MOVEment activities
High Level
Community Messaging Templates

Use our COMMUNITY MESSAGING TEMPLATES to involve your community in your efforts for National Physical Fitness and Sport Month. Copy, paste, and customize our sample content to spread the word efficiently.

Sample Social Media

Make SOCIAL POSTS about your efforts to promote Mental Health Awareness Month. Copy and paste our sample content and use our graphics, or make your own!

Use our National Physical Fitness & Sport Month activities to engage your school during the month of May!

Celebrate the power that sports have to create interactive environments of inclusion for ALL!