Don’t you love coming
across a novel, poem, movie, or song that you first encountered years ago and
really enjoyed or that had a lasting impact on you? You get to have that great
experience again and reminisce about what was going on in your life the first
time you heard or read the piece? This happened to me this week.
I’m a nerd, so it came as
no surprise that what I came across were two articles I had read in grad
school. The articles both discuss inclusive education for students with
moderate-severe disabilities (i.e., my students). There were so many
“highlighter-worthy” statements that I just had to pass along.
of inclusive education: “Full-time membership of students with disabilities
in their chronologically age-appropriate classrooms with the necessary supports
and services to benefit from educational activities.” (Downing, 2010)
is a “hallmark” of inclusive education: “General educators, special educators,
paraprofessionals, related service providers and all critical team members
share the responsibility for teaching students with moderate to severe
disabilities in typical learning environments.” (Downing, 2010)
inclusive education is not: Students
being only physically present in general education classes, hiring
paraprofessionals to assist students in general education classes, students
sitting away from other peers working on different assignments, students coming
to general education classes for 30 minutes every now and then. (Downing, 2010)
for inclusive education: “…assume competence and teach to that assumption.”
of inclusive education: “…research findings to date support the practice
of bringing students of different abilities together to learn. Benefits have
been documented for all involved with minimal detrimental impact. Teachers have
reported learning more skills and knowledge to use with an increasingly diverse
student population.” (Downing, 2010)
should be the advocate for inclusive education: “…advocates for inclusion
and access to the general curriculum…disseminate their positions and findings
to special educators when the primary target audience ought to be general educators,
administrators, parents and community members.” (Halle & Diamond, 2010)
differently about inclusive education: “Rather than striving for
‘sameness’…there is a need to expand educational contexts for all learners to
incorporate inclusive settings outside the classroom and in the community.”
(Halle & Diamond, 2010)
Wow! These articles really
rekindled my fire for inclusive education for students with moderate-severe
disabilities. The wheels are turning wildly in my head about how I can make
this kind of genuine inclusive education happen for my kids.
Is this something any of you do
in your schools? Do you know of schools where this is in place for students
with moderate-severe disabilities? Where do I start?
J. (2010). Teaching students with moderate to severe disabilities in general
education classrooms. In J. Downing (2010), Academic
Instruction for Students with Moderate to Severe Disabilities (1-16).
J & Dymond, S. (2010). Inclusive education: A necessary prerequisite to accessing
the general education curriculum? Research
& Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 33-34(4-1), 196-198.