Gayle Slate works to better the lives of kids with disabilities


Gayle Slate holds a master’s degree in psychology, and in marriage, family and child counseling. As a parent and as a professional, she has been involved for more than 38 years with families of children with disabilities.

In 1997, she founded Kids Included Together (KIT), a national, nonprofit agency that specializes in training community-based organizations committed to including children with disabilities in their existing recreational, social and child care programs.

In 2009, Slate authored “Dana’s Legacy: From Heartbreak to Healing, Strengthening Families of Children with Disabilities.” She has been recognized in the U.S. Congressional Record, and has received awards from the March of Dimes as a “Mother of the Year,” the Salvation Army as a “Woman of Distinction” and the Compass Family Center as a Star Award recipient. In May 2003, the city of San Diego proclaimed a “Gayle and Don Slate Day,” as founders of KIT.

What brought you to the area?

A spur-of-the-moment decision created by finding the perfect house on the perfect beach in the perfect town in the U.S.A.'s best city — San Diego!

What makes this town special to you?

The beauty, the quiet and the people who live here all add up to a uniquely personal hometown kind of feeling.

Who or what inspires you?

I have worked with hundreds of families with children of special needs. These parents’ courage, perseverance and determination to help their children achieve their potential against huge odds are my greatest inspiration.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Jackie Kennedy, Meryl Streep, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawkins, Franklin Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Sarah Palin.

Tell us about what you are currently reading.

“Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts, “Half Broke Horses” by Jeannette Walls and “City of Thieves” by David Benioff.

Do you have any favorite films?

I love watching movies. Some of my favorites are “American in Paris,” “Shindler’s List,” “Blind Side” and “Slumdog Millionaire.”

What is your most-prized possession?

My husband of 56 years, Don.

What do you do for fun?

I always have fun just by living. I love being with my whole family on family adventures, traveling.

Describe your greatest accomplishment.

No. 1: Having our children.

No. 2: Founding KIT, making a difference for ALL kids.

No. 3: Writing “Dana’s Legacy,” to help families grow despite their traumatic lives.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

I have three: Stay with it, go as far as you can with your dreams; pay attention to your instincts, when it’s time to stop what you’re doing, you will know; and live by the wants, not by the shoulds.