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.
- Definition 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)
- Collaboration 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)
- What 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)
- Mindset for inclusive education: “...assume competence and teach to that assumption.” (Downing, 2010)
- Outcomes 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)
- Who 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)
- Thinking 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?
Downing, 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).
Halle. 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.