Founder and executive director, Sam Drazin, launched Changing Perspectives in 2013 to provide schools with high-quality disability awareness programming as a pathway for students to understand differences and develop empathy. Sam was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, a rare congenital disorder resulting in both facial anomaly and hearing loss. As a child, Sam underwent seven surgeries while attending his local public school. Later, he became an elementary school teacher. His experiences, both as a student with a disability and as a teacher working in an inclusive classroom, helped him recognize the importance of improving awareness and understanding of disabilities. The ultimate goal is to help everyone recognize their own challenges and to help promote understanding, respect, and acceptance of all people.
Since the inception of Changing Perspectives, our staff has grown from a single employee to a four-person team. As the organization has grown, so has our vision and our scope. In our first two years, we focused on building partnerships with schools in New England; we now work with schools across the country and welcomed our first international partner in 2018. In addition to our flagship K-8 curriculum, we now also offer programming for preK and high school students.
We see our work as a ripple effect, spreading from classrooms to schools and communities. Changing Perspectives offers resources to support schools’ efforts to prioritize social-emotional learning and empathy as essential elements of a quality education. Through a lens of disability as an aspect of diversity, our programming also helps schools foster inclusion and strengthen school climate to benefit all students.