Frazer’s Child Development Program has seen some staff changes recently, including a new director, assistant director, and curriculum coordinator. Also new to the team are two inclusion coaches—Denise Amos and Brandy Roden. Both joined the Frazer staff at the same time, and they are taking up the mantle of growing Frazer’s Inclusion Program for children ages 5 and under.
As inclusion coaches, Brandy and Denise support children with intellectual and developmental disabilities or delays, both in the classroom and one-on-one. They observe the classroom environment and offer support to the teachers and make suggestions about strategies and adaptations that can be made to create a more inclusive experience for all the children.
They also communicate with parents and any therapists that a child may have to ensure that everyone is on the same page and can reinforce the practices that best support each child.
Denise is from the Bay Area and has a degree in psychology with a focus on child development from San Francisco State University. She worked as an early education teacher in California, where “I was lucky enough to work in inclusion programs from the start,” she says. “I was drawn to work with those who needed the most support.”
Brandy is from northern Alabama but spent 16 years in New Orleans where she earned a degree in behavioral studies. She has been a behavioral therapist for four years and is completing her master’s in applied behavior analysis. “I feel lucky to have Denise as a teammate,” she says. “I love brainstorming and coming up with solutions together.”
Denise and Brandy both enjoy collaborating with Frazer’s teachers and interns. “It’s a joy getting to know them,” says Denise. “So many big hearts, patient, and kind humans that truly do care about our students,” Brandy says. “I’ve really appreciated their eagerness and openness to learn.”
In their few months at Frazer, Brandy and Denise have already seen progress among the children in the inclusion program, such as more engagement with their peers, improved navigation skills on the forest trails, and generally thriving in a school setting for the first time.
Both coaches are passionate about inclusion and love connecting with the children. “I’ve really enjoyed watching our students here at Frazer show so much acceptance, patience, and understanding of their fellow students,” says Brandy. “Children rarely even notice that someone is ‘different’. At most, they show curiosity about someone—just like with any peer.”
Although Denise and Brandy are still acclimating to Frazer, they are both excited about the future of the inclusion program. “I hope we can continue to expand and elevate our facilities to accommodate a wide range of needs and abilities,” says Denise. “There is a lot of potential here,” Brandy says.
When not at Frazer, Denise loves “spending time with my pets and my partner at home where we enjoy crafts, sewing, gardening, and singing. I also love to get outside and explore the outdoors through hiking.”
Brandy enjoys spending time with her 15-year-old daughter. “We like to go to estate sales, thrift stores, concerts, markets and grocery stores.” They cook together and enjoy experimenting in the kitchen. Brandy also loves tending to her many tropical plants and being with her dog.