Celebrating + Supporting Students with Disabilities
"It's about connecting disability to identity. As students develop disability identity, they need empowering opportunities to come together and build community."
-LeDerick Horne, Author, Empowering Students with Hidden Disabilities

"I do not have any problem with people getting a label, if along with that label they get pride, a cultural identity, a connection to a community and a history of this community of accomplishing amazing things."
-Andy Imparato, Executive Director, Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD)

Hello SPARK Community!

The following are resources from our program with LeDerick Horne on "Empowering Students with Hidden Disabilities: A Path to Pride and Success." We are so grateful that you are part of our connected SPARK neighborhood where we strive to value and celebrate all members of our community.

Thank you for your partnership, participation and feedback!
The SPARK Team
Resources from LeDerick Horne
Some resources from SPARK + LeDerick Horne to support you during these unprecedented times!
LeDerick Horne Contact Info + Handout

LeDerick Horne's Book! (Contains all of the info from the program) + YouTube

Featured Appearances with LeDerick

Organizations Mentioned During the Program
  • Eye to Eye National - dedicated to “Unlocking the Greatness in the 1 in 5 who Learn Differently.”
  • Association of Youth Leadership Forums - the purpose of this association is to improve employment and independent living outcomes of youth with disabilities throughout the US and its territories.

Other Recommended Resources

SPARK Resources
LeDerick's 7 Tips on the Path to Disability Pride

1. Give youth “Knowledge of Self”
2. Find a Mentor
3. Practice Disability Disclosure
4. Use Mental Health Support
  • See Chapter 7 of LeDerick's book, featuring Dr. Bill Bauer.
  • Here are some local (and non local) ways to access mental health support:
  • Network of Care Massachusetts - A new, searchable database of mental health and substance use related programs made possible by MetroWest Health Foundation. and Blue Cross Blue Shield MA and  the CF Adams Charitable Trust.
  • INTERFACE - A mental health referral service that is free to all Natick, Westborough and Walpole residents as well as residents in 50+ communities across MA. Go here for info or call (888)-244-6843. (Hours are M-F, 9 to 5)
  • Call 911 - For mental health emergencies.
  • For other urgent mental health matter, call Emergency Service Program - For Natick and MetroWest Boston call Advocates 24-hour access number: 1-800-640-5432. Go HERE for contact info in other areas.
  • Mass211 - Open 24/7 - 365 days a year and can provide info on social (including mental health) services.
  • Call2Talk - is a 24 hour hotline that is a free resource for anyone who needs to connect during this challenging time. Call (508) 532-2255 or Text C2T to 741741
  • Alcoholics Anonymous - Online Intergroup - Email, chat, audio, and forums meeting in a variety of languages are offered. (info at AA.org on meetings + COVID-19.
  • Therapy Matcher Free confidential and personalized referral service for social workers across MA.
  • Best Online Therapy Programs of 2020 - Includes best for teens, peer support, etc.
5. Exposure to Postsecondary Disability Supports
  • EnvisionIT - Is an electronic curriculum for students with and without disabilities focused on developing key literacy and career skills as needed for the 21st century workplace.
  • TAGG - Transition Assessment Goal Generator. "The TAGG is a new on-line transition assessment for secondary-aged youth with disabilities, their families, and professionals. TAGG items derive from research identified student behaviors associated with post high school employment and education."
6. Paid Employment while in School
7. Use the IEP as an Opportunity
Celebrating Black History and People with Disability
"I think that way way in which we address stigma is by highlighting the experiences of people who have lived the experience and who have also had excellent lives."
Related Resources on Supporting
Students with Disabilities
Other Articles/Resources:
LeDerick Video
LeDerick's New Poem - Until Every Barrier Falls
Beautiful Video About Inclusive Leadership
Featured Community Partners
We are so grateful to Natick SEPAC (and all of the SEPAC organizations in the Commonwealth and beyond) for everything they do to support families with children with disabilities, special needs, and neurodiversity.

Here is their info as well as the info of other helpful organizations:

Thank you to another SPARK Featured Community Partner - Natick is United - “We are a community where we value differences and everyone belongs.” You can learn more about Natick is United and read their full mission statement HERE.
SPARK Kindness is a community convener, educator, resource, and friend—and the biggest fan of our shared strengths. Join us in Natick and our growing network of communities.