Inclusive education with just one click?

Emir Tardio teaches us how to count from 1 to 10 using the Genius Plaza platform. Photograph taken by Eliana Tardio.

With thousands of followers on social networks, Eliana Tardío is much more than an influencer. She’s an activist, a defender of inclusion and diversity, an author of two books, and a successful blogger in Spanish and English. While she devotes her time to creating original content, the most important thing to her is the time she spends with her children, Emir and Ayelén (Yaya), whom both have Down syndrome.

Eliana was nominated by Latinos in Social Media as Best Latina Activist in the United States. She has been interviewed several times and has even been a guest at the White House where she shared her views on how to change the way the world perceives people with disabilities.

Through her website, Live with passion, compassion, and style, she urges those around her to celebrate the small triumphs, empowers parents to fight for the right of their children to be included, and tries to deal with the daily challenges with a positive attitude. With so many hats to wear, it would be easy for anyone to feel exhausted. However, when talking with Eliana, her energy, joy, and optimism are contagious.

Eliana Tardio and her children, Yaya and Emir.
Photograph taken from Eliana Tardio’s website.

Eliana and her children use the Genius Plaza platform to create Sparks. Sparks allow children to show what they have learned through the creation of videos, games, questions, or digital books. Through this methodology, children are the protagonists of their learning journey and by transmitting what they have learned among their peers, they are able to reflect, analyze, and retain the information successfully.

Eliana has been one of the most prolific activists when it comes to inclusive education. Through her work, she breaks down any prejudice associated with disabilities to shed light on a sensitive issue. She has been focusing on inclusive education for nine years and during that time, her family has become leaders to follow.

While preaching that inclusion begins at home, children with Down Syndrome are proof of the amazing things that they can achieve when they are incorporated into a school with a modified curriculum.

When Yaya was accepted into her neighborhood’s childcare at 8 months of age, Eliana realized the power and difference of inclusion in development. Emir’s academic career began when he was 6 years old. Today, at 15, Emir is the first fully enrolled student with Down syndrome in high school.

Have there been challenges? Of course. Eliana comments that they are changing the perception of society and fighting against prejudice.

“The biggest challenge is the prejudice that makes people believe that living with a disability is something out of the ordinary or that because someone has Down syndrome, he or she is an angel or has a special power. Unfortunately, this approach limits the inclusion of people with disabilities, because we tend to label them and assume that they are all the same, we push segregation under the label of ‘special’.”

One of the resources created by Eliana Tardio on the Genius Plaza website.

Eliana describes Genius Plaza as a safe website where Emir and Yaya have felt free to create original content on a platform that offers resources in more than 30 languages ​​and different formats.

“We have to fully adopt the best practices for education,” said Eliana. “The standardized curricula are outdated and are limiting for students. Children need creativity and flexibility,” she added.

Eliana testifies that parents of children with Down syndrome should allow their children to try to fend for themselves and not limit them out of fear or insecurity. They should give them tools to express themselves and be protagonists of their own learning process.

If you want to see how children learn by having fun, do not miss the video of Emir teaching us to tell in the following link:

And if you want to ignite the genius in your children, visit our page

Ana Ximena

Bilingual writer specialized in storytelling, journalism, creative writing, and corporate communications. I'm a daydreamer, fluent in sarcasm and irony with a penchant for details and romantic gestures. I've been working in the industry for over five years, writing in English and Spanish.

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