Gina Wilson-Burns is an unapologetic advocate for her son, she promotes the life changing experience of parenting a child with multiple severe disabilities not as a ‘traumatic or crushing experience’ but one of hope and possibilities, of love and laughter.

Gina acknowledges we need to remove much of the red-tape and perceived limitations to empower families to do what families do best… live, love and grow.

Gina is a former management committee member and current Chairperson of All Means All, the National Alliance for Inclusive Education.

She was a participant in a knowledge sharing exchange with Inclusion Alberta, CA in 2009 along with 20 other representatives from Australia and NZ and is the author of the inclusive education blog Inky Ed!


Day 2 Concurrent Session 2b 1:35 – 3:00

Students as communication partners…everybody wins!

Many mainstream schools have literacy and numeracy frameworks, but how many have a Communication Partner Framework?

During this session we’ll explore a school in NSW where students and staff used a communication partner framework, with curriculum-based outcomes, that allowed huge opportunities and growth learning for those with and without Complex Communication Needs.

Often a child with complex communication needs (CCN) is relegated to working solely with an aide or adult in a mainstream classroom setting (rarely the class teacher or classmates). This reliance on adult support is far from ‘best practice inclusion’ and is potentially detrimental to many students.

At CPS a Communication Partner Framework was established in the same format as literacy and numeracy frameworks within the school. This allowed a structure for all students to grow as competent communication partners for one of their peers who uses AAC (partner assisted auditory & visual scanning, yes/no switching and morse code input). Classmates knew how all the AAC equipment for a student works. They knew how to set up the different elements and how to troubleshoot any problems. They often designed their own activity adaptations which, at times, are quite inspired.

When we use the curriculum within a social justice and human rights lens, then… everybody wins!