CDCI's partnership with Renata started in 2017 when she was matched with CDCI as part of a fellowship for international Inclusive Education professionals. Since then, our partnership has grown.
Career and Background
Renata came to Vermont with a wealth of experience and expertise in education and advocacy field. With more than 10 years of experience as an educator, and as a parent of a child with autism, Renata also has her Ph.D. in Informatics in Education and has worked as a consultant for disability rights advocacy groups and as a policy compliance advisor. Renata has done anything but slow down since her time with us in Vermont. Renata, after partnering with CDCI’s Amy Starble, also offers trainings on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for children with autism and complex communication needs.
Upon spending any amount of time with Renata, you can feel the energy and love she brings to her work. This motivation is deeply rooted in her belief in equity: "I believe in the inherent value of each and every human being. I believe people facing disability are as worthy as any person. Oftentimes, what is missing for them to enjoy equal opportunities is accessibility or reasonable accommodation. I am excited about collaborating in changing such state of affairs through my work, expertise and active social engagement."
If traveling to the US for a five-week program was not intensive enough, Renata’s days in Vermont were spent in meetings and classrooms, learning about policies and practices, and engaging with a spectrum of Vermont community members and leaders. Renata shared some of the valuable connections she made during her time here:
I have made so many connections and learned so much!!!
- I have made so many connections and learned so much!!!
- I loved to understand about the most general structural aspects such as Vermont's Developmental Disabilities Network covering leadership, advocacy, and legal protection, namely, the three sisters.
- I was impressed about the many projects developed through CDCI to support Inclusion from birth to adulthood.
- I have learned so much by visiting a total of 10 schools and spending time with consultants from the I-TEAM Early Intervention, I-TEAM and BEST projects.
- I was amazed about how knowledgeable and consistent Vermont's professionals and professors are. I often turn to their materials and publications even now.
- Amy's coming to Brazil was beyond awesome. She managed to disseminate best practices and offer new perspectives with AAC here. We have sewed seeds that are starting to develop with professionals more aware and diversifying approaches.
- I also loved to meet my host family in Vermont, Priscilla, Tom and Hairy.
It is always a good day when we get the chance to see what Renata is doing in Brazil, and we are fortunate to receive updates via Facebook and email regularly. For the future, Renata has plans to continue her work, making sure best practices are taught all across her expansive country, and possibly on a global stage:
As Brazil is really big, I keep working, offering trainings, consulting, advocating. The size of the country is a challenge, so I have invested in multiplying and building capacity with a wide range of stakeholders in order to foster sustainability for Inclusion in the years to come. That has been my focus and will continue to be. I hope to keep collaborating with CDCI. In 2020 there will be an International Conference in Mexico on AAC, I would like to present about our progress here in Brazil through my collaboration with CDCI.