What does Inclusion Mean to Me?

Inclusion is my first meeting with a very well dressed principal promising me that he will “make it work,” while lying on the sidewalk beside my unhappy son.

Inclusion is a five year old girl helping my son unpack his book bag, rather than hearing each day from his teacher that she can’t possibly have the time to do this.

Inclusion is my son pushing the same girl on the swing at lunch.

Inclusion is my son’s classmate coming over and with the timing of a seasoned therapist and the love of a friend teaching him how to play.

Inclusion will only succeed when teachers feel supported and never feel alone.

Inclusion works best when there is no easy alternative- no place for the child to be moved to.

Inclusion takes advantage of natural supports which develop when a child is placed with his peers.

Inclusion means that his teachers do not demand that he change before they teach him.

Inclusion means his teachers are willing to learn from him.

Inclusion is a place where acceptance is so universal it defies definition.

Inclusion is a place where every child is fully involved and has no limits places on what they can learn or who they can be.

How many of you have found inclusive classrooms for your children? What does the chance to be with typical peers mean to you?

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0 thoughts on “What does Inclusion Mean to Me?

  • July 22, 2011 at 8:25 am
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    First off, I just want to tell you how much respect I have for you as a parent. I’m not a parent, but I do plan to work in an ABA classroom as a career. I’ve worked with children with special needs, including autism, since I was about 8 and have taken both high school and college classes discussing the topic. My mom is an integrated preschool teacher herself and from what I’ve seen I think inclusion can really help children on the autism spectrum. Being able to observe their peers and how they socialize can often help these kids learn by example and be more adapted to the real world. I also think autistic children can do anything typical children can (just differently) and therefore, they should learn the same basic life skills so they can be as well-equipped for the outside world as possible. Of course there are struggles, especially with something as complex and individualistic (each case is different) as autism and autism spectrum disorders. It’s promising to see how the definition and understand has evolved recently, and hopefully more progress will be made… and maybe I’ll even be a part of that! Sorry, I’m just a rambling 19 year old haha, best of luck to you and your son!

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  • July 22, 2011 at 6:06 am
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    Diane a thing a the parents of the globe must realise is that the way forward is a collaborative world effort to create many options for Autistics – being this far away from a truly universal cause and cure scenario means coping is the cure. All avenues must be explored keep up the great reflections!

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  • July 21, 2011 at 2:33 pm
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    This kind of inclusion is only practiced in heaven!! (I am in a bad mood today!!)

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  • July 21, 2011 at 7:24 am
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    @thinking_of_coffee@xanga – Thanks for your addition. Communication is very important. I will never forget a class trip during a week when my son was plagued with nosebleeds following a sinus infection. When I called his teacher to tell her I would keep him home, and she promised to take an assistant from the school who had taken first aid and was great with these sorts of issues. I was so touched that she was willing to have not only a child who ordinarily needed more attention, but one who was prone to nosebleeds.  I sent him and realized that she was truly dedicated to my child. He had a great time and his nose was fine! From then on I do just what you suggest, I speak up and we find a way for things to work.

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  • July 21, 2011 at 3:09 am
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    I really enjoyed your descriptions of inclusion.  If I could add one more, from the point of view of a teacher, inclusion also means that parents who are afraid it would be too complicated to make out-of-classroom experiences such as field trips work, just talk to the teacher and find ways together to provide for a successful experience, instead of just deciding the child will stay home that day.

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  • July 21, 2011 at 1:31 am
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    I am all the way in Jamaica and inclusion first up is limited to the max! Yes oxymoron. But my boy 11 year old Quinn since going to an inclusionary school has blossomed and developed more socially applicable traits – Autism is such that we all know that dependent on how impacted the individual is …may not work in all cases. In our case inclusion I know has enabled him with the right aids to take his first test on the road to qualifying to attend a “normal” high school if we so choose. I do not care if he goes to one or not the fact is, he now has options we never thought he would have because of being included. And at the end of the day based on how hard the Autistic life is, is okay by me.

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  • July 20, 2011 at 10:59 pm
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    I am sorry to hear about your negative experiences. Teachers can make all the difference. My son was tortured by his self contained teachers, so much so that he cried bitterly every morning to the point that we took him out of school and searched for a better option. For him inclusion gave him a chance to learn to read and write even though his evaluations and previous experiences suggested that this would not be possible. He is happy going to school, he has a few friends, and he has had a chance to be in plays and learn to play music. I don’t claim to know what will be the best in the future, but I do know that had he stayed in the self contained program chosen for him by the district he would be a much more frustrated child without many academic possibilities ahead.

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  • July 20, 2011 at 8:42 pm
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    It’s safe to say that i have a lot of problems from inclusion.  I was tortured by teachers and classmates.  Some of my classmates developed sympathy because of the teachers.  It was sad. I wasn’t trying to be difficult.  Have you considered a private school or one that would cater more to his needs?  Have you planned his future, like what he’s going to do?  The IEPs sometime overstress areas that aren’t important.  I suggest you tape a hidden camera onto him so that you can get a feel of what it’s like.

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  • July 20, 2011 at 6:52 pm
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    Inclusion means that I’m unequally equal.

    Inclusion means that my special needs are attention getting and distracting from other student’s learning.

    Inclusion means that I won’t develop a trade that will be my meal ticket.

    Inclusion means that everybody knows I have a secret that they don’t.

    Inclusion means that my parents get to feel better about their little failure though.

    Look, I was in special ed.  It’s evil.  Only when we are together will we be safe.

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