Reflections on Inclusion Facilitation by Shagufta Khan

Reflections on Inclusion Facilitation shared by Shagufta Khan – probably the first UK Muslim Inclusion Facilitator in the UK.

When the visitor comes knocking 

I loose the breath in my lungs 

If only I could roll away

This poem was inspired by the young person I worked with in my role as an Inclusion facilitator. The young woman was 16 and in her final year of school, trying to manage exams, life and anxiety!  I don’t imagine that would be an easy feat for anyone, but would be especially difficult for a teenager who had a life changing experience.  

The young person was particularly anxious when travelling in cars and would often roll herself into a ball as a protection from the noise of traffic around her. We would practise positive mantras such as ‘its just a car’ and deep breathing to reduce her anxiety and it would help for a short burst of time, but her overwhelming fear and anxiety would creep in again.  It was during these many times of reflection, that we decided to name this feeling or emotion as a ‘visitor’.  Rumi, a Persian poet from the 13th Century, wrote a poem entitled the ‘Guest House’ where he describes these ‘visitors’ or thoughts as ‘guests’ that arrive through the door every morning.  I think it’s an interesting analogy that could help young people understand how thoughts can impact them in their daily lives and how these same thoughts are temporary and not a permanent resident… so at some stage they will leave. This notion can bring great comfort to a young person constantly trying to battle them on a daily basis and build their confidence and self-worth. 

So what did I learn in my role as an inclusion facilitator? Well the answer is… so much!  I was new to the role but, as I realised, not completely new to the concept because I was using my experiences of community work and teaching skills and combining them in a unique way to support a young person fulfil their dreams and goals. It was a complete pleasure to see the young person take steps towards their goals and be willing to work through their boundaries. Despite the challenges, she continued to strive towards them.  

Overall, I’ve felt inspired through this work and it has given me an opportunity to realise my own goals… which is to write.  Last year, I self-published my poetry and the journey so far has been exciting and fulfilling. In reflection, the value of inclusion work cannot be put into words, it is life changing work, giving a young person support in realising and fulfilling their dreams, no matter what their obstacles are. 

Find her book of poetry, An Imperfect Love Story, here

We specialise in autism in mainstream schools, inclusion of students with disabilities, education psychology, autism education, community building and training on inclusion.

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