This week our cohort was honoured, with yet again, another wonderful guest speaker. Tracey Humphreys, the Founder and Chair of BCEdAccess.
This society is an organization fully run by volunteers, mostly parents. BCEdAccess supports children and youth with disabilities by promoting educational inclusion for all to reach their full potential – this extends out to their home life as well.
“Tracy is a mom to three children with disabilities and she herself has ADHD and other invisible disabilities. She has been an active volunteer in BC schools for over 20 years, as a board member on her local PACs, the District PAC in Victoria (VCPAC), and as a BCCPAC representative for VCPAC. She also served as Board Vice President of Elizabeth Buckley School for 3 years. She is currently a consultant CEO for beauty companies, a partner in CareQuadrant, and winner of the 2019 Victoria Community Leadership Award in Lifelong Learning for her work with BCEdAccess as a full time volunteer advocate for families of children with disabilities in British Columbia schools since 2014.”
Right off the bat, Humphreys shared very personal and meaningful topics with us. Humphreys was extremely open and honest about her personal journey and her children’s educational journeys. Humphreys expressed, from a parental point-of-view, how it feels when your child is diagnosed with a disability. The feeling of “knowing nothing,” and being told to “trust and believe” in the education system. However, with such high demand of support in classrooms, the wait for help can be extremely prolonged. Humphreys advice, “do not wait.” “Fight for change.” “Put it in writing.” This stood out to me and is so important for families to know they have rights, especially when it comes to their child’s education.
Humphreys also emphasized that support and inclusion is all about connections. These relationships should extend from the school, to the student, and to the family – a web of relations. For a student, sometimes, one strong relationship is all they need to succeed.
Prior to the Zoom call, Humphreys recommended we watch a video featuring, Damon Kirsebom, a non-reliable speaker. His story is incredibly eye-opening. While this is one of many stories about educational success, there are still many cases unassisted. This is why Humphreys and BCEdAccess work towards supporting specific disabilities in BC’s education system.
It was a moving and important topic that I am glad we were able to be exposed to during our teacher education.
For more on Tracey Humphreys and the BCEdAccess Society, please check out their website.