As a parent and as a professional, Gayle Slate, M.F.T. (ret), has been involved for more than 35 years with families of children with disabilities. For 15 years she was the director of an early intervention program for infants and toddlers with disabilities. Having pioneered the specialty of working with families of children with disabilities, she's counseled hundreds of families, created support groups, and became an advocate for parental rights. In 1997, she founded Kids Included Together (KIT), a national, non-profit organization. KIT, the only group of its kind in the United States, specializes in providing best practices training for community based organizations committed to including children with disabilities into their existing recreational, social, and child care programs. It focuses on sustainability so organizations will continues to provide inclusive environments long after KIT's involvement has ceased. To date, since the beginning, more than 5,800 children with disabilities have been co-enrolled with more than 82,000 typically developing youth at KIT affiliate sites in San Diego alone. Since the publication of this book, KIT has expanded its services throughout the United States, including the US Navy.
Dana's life unknowingly proved to be the catalyst for Gayle. The years of sorrow, pain and negative energy became transformed into strength and healing, not only for her, but for the hundreds of families she has helped over the years.
She has demonstrated through her life story that heartbreak and trauma are always unexpected and unavoidable. The noted Victor Frankl said about response to trauma, "It's not what happens to you, it's what you do about what happens to you." Following her instincts and inspired by Dana's life and death, Gayle learned to make choices that led to her making a difference for thousands of children with and without disabilities. That has been the true legacy. In turn, Gayle has been thankful that she never would have wanted her life to be any different. Her story can be read in “Dana’s Legacy-From Heartbreak to Healing, Strengthening Families of Children with Disabilities”.
In private practice since 1979, Ms. Slate holds a Master of Arts both in Psychology and in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling. She has spoken to many groups, and has written numerous articles. She and her husband Don live in Del Mar, California. They have two children, Scott Slate and Heidi Levin, and have 6 grandchildren.