What is inclusion?

The term encompasses a wide range of educational services which includes both students with and without disabilities. Theoretically, the term also means to include students with disabilities in the general education classrooms alongside their peers without disabilities.

In reality, this setting looks different across different settings depending on the school system and the structure of each school.

The primary goal of any inclusion setting is educating the student with disabilities by having a positive attitude and approach for both the parents and the teachers.

The following 4 steps will help you have a better understanding of what exactly Inclusion is, and how it can benefit children;

4 Steps To Understanding Inclusion;

1. Understand the Reasoning and Theory Behind Inclusion

Inclusion allows all students with and without disabilities to be educated together in the same classroom environment. It will enable all students to experience what everyone needs to know and understand to be successful after graduating-Diversity.

Students need to understand the importance of having different characteristics and strengths in different areas. They also need to know how to work side by side successfully with others that don’t have the same strengths and knowledge in a particular area.

2. Understanding That Inclusion Builds Relationships

When students with disabilities are educated in a separate classroom environment, “typically developing” peers are not given the opportunity to understand differences and how to handle those differences in a positive way.

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When having students with and without disabilities in the same environment, they both benefit from social interaction. This allows all students to build friendships and to learn how to interact with others in various ways (i.e., communication devices, sign language) that they would typically not have the experience doing.

3. Knowing How Collaboration and Team Planning Works Regarding Inclusion

The general education teacher and the special education teacher work side by side to ensure ALL students have access to the general education curriculum and have full access to the specific content curriculum.

It is important to note that this will look different across settings because specific content curriculums vary.

The special education teacher and the general education teacher work together to ensure all accommodations/modifications are being implemented in accordance to the student’s IEP since both have ownership of the students. When working in a collaborative co-teaching environment, the regular ed and special ed teacher (along with a Special Needs Tutor if applicable) are both in the classroom providing content.

When developing lesson plans, both teachers work together to ensure all students have access to the curriculum being taught. This may look different for every student in the classroom because of differentiated instruction.

4. Knowing How Inclusion Benefits The Classroom, The School, And The Community As A Whole

When educating students with disabilities in the general education classroom, it allows everyone to have a sense of belonging. When everyone is taught together, the greater community benefits.

This allows everyone to know and understand that each and every person learns differently, acts differently, and has different strengths and weaknesses. The impact of educating all students together goes beyond the classroom. When everyone is educated together, students learn the importance of acceptance and apply this throughout the school.

When this happens, it also allows the community to share the positives of this as well. They are not “standoffish” when they encounter someone “different” than them.

Inclusion brings everyone together for a common goal-ACCEPTANCE.

What are your thoughts on Inclusion Classrooms? Please comment below…

~ Amanda

Amanda Wagoner, MAT

Amanda Wagoner, MAT

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