What is Inclusion?
The Inclusion Program is a model of special education in which students with disabilities are part of the general education community, including those with both visible (physical) and invisible (social, language, behavioral, and/or academic) challenges. Inclusion is how we as a community of parents and educators foster inclusive learning environments within the diverse school population through respect, compassion and open communication.
Benefits & challenges of inclusion:
It has also been shown that students without special needs can make greater gains in math and reading in inclusive settings. In addition, the presence of students with disabilities can lead to new learning opportunities and new relationships for all students.
Because of the Inclusion Program:
- Teachers are trained and given tools to develop more strategies for differentiated learning
- All students are able to practice strategies for self-regulation, problem solving, and social interactions
- Students with different backgrounds provide unique perspectives in the classroom
Fostering inclusion is challenging, but the benefits outweigh the effort. It is crucial for our children, who are growing up in a world full of different minds and bodies, to learn in a healthy, diverse environment that reflects the outside world, including their future colleges and workplaces. Inclusion develops skills such as empathy and perspective-taking; it integrates social intelligence with academics; and it makes the school into a safe environment where kids can take risks and try new things.
Resources on inclusion, including what you can do at home:
Washington Post article: Teacher to parents: About THAT kid (the one who hits, disrupts and influences YOUR kid)