Passionate About Disability Inclusion 

Diana Pastora Carson, M.Ed, is a teacher, author, disability rights advocate, and a consultant and speaker on inclusion and diversity as they relate to disability. And just as she did as a child, Diana seeks to create an inclusive world for her brother, and all others. Through her fight for inclusion and freedom from institutionalization for Joaquin, paired with her elementary school teaching, and college teaching of disability studies courses, Diana has emerged as a passionate advocate for inclusion in all settings. With her brother's permission and support, she shares their story as a springboard for reflection and discussion around disability access, accommodations, appreciation, and full inclusion.

Previous Speaking Engagements

  • TedX: San Diego State University

  • San Diego Unified School District

  • North Coastal Consortium for Special Education

  • California Supported Living Network

  • Kids Included Together, Inc.

  • California State PTA

  • CalTASH Supported Life Institute

  • Golden Gate Self-Advocacy Conference

  • University of San Diego Autism Institute

  • San Diego State University

  • Coronado School District

  • Kids for Peace/ Interactions for Peace

  • Administrative Law Judges Training

  • California Point Loma Nazarene

  • UCLA

  • Fiesta Educativa Parent Conference

  • Involved Exceptional Parents Day Conference

  • Noah Homes Symposium 

  • Brandman University

  • Hope House Staff Development Conference

Speaking Topics

  • A Walk with Joaquin

  • Advocacy Through the Eyes of a Spanish-Italian

  • Institutional vs. Inclusive Mindset

  • Disability & Diversity

  • Ed Roberts Children's Book

  • & More... 

For Educators
  • Inclusive Instructional Strategies & Accommodations

  • Beyond Awareness Training for Schools



& his love of "Steak"

Joaquin Carson has survived segregated education, social isolation, and lack of understanding amidst his communication attempts. The experience of being disabled by "fences" (his environment), more than his autism, continues to inspire the work of his sister. Joaquin has lived in a state institution twice in his lifetime due to mistaken judgments about his personhood and lack of dignifying responses to his existence. After 3 years of fighting for his freedom, Joaquin is finally living...in the community, in a home of his own, with loving neighbors, including his sister.  

When asked by our mother what meal he wanted upon his return to the community, Joaquin responded, "Steak."  And for the rest of his wait for freedom, he continued to claim, "Steak is coming!" Now he says, "I like steak."  Joaquin cannot digest steak easily and so he rarely eats steak.  But he still says this often when he is happy.  "Steak" is Joaquin's metaphor for life quality.



“All I can say is thank you, Diana, for doing what we all aspired to do when we became educators. You are making a difference with your dedication, your inspiration, and your commitment to educating our students. Awesome!”

—  Jorge Mora, Principal


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