Speaking up for inclusion on the "What Would You Like Special Education Teachers to Know" Readers Respond page recently was a parent who, in contrast to a teacher who wrote contemptuously of inclusion, thinks inclusion works just fine, thank you very much. Writes Nikki P.:
"Having the first child with a significant disability be fully included at the elementary level is always stressful. But it is also very exciting for my community, and very groundbreaking for individuals who happen to have Down syndrome. Teachers, I say, it can be done, and you should at least try it. My child does not have pull outs he gets push ins, special education is a SERVICE, not a place to be. All therapies are done in the classrooms, OT, Speech, PT is done during recess or gym. It's very inclusive, and it's done properly, nothing sloppy about it. What I hear about most is the GAP widening, and so there for inclusion must not be working, so what I say to you is this, the GAP also widens on the other side of the spectrum. The GAP is widened between my child and his peers who are not included, so I rebut and say, Inclusion works, indeed it does."
It's certainly nice to hear an upbeat story about inclusion this time of year, when parents are checking out their kids' new programs and looking for what's going to work and what's going to be a problem. It's a time full of hope, and of trepidation. Anything done properly, with nothing sloppy about it, is something to celebrate. How's the school year shaping up for your child? Share in the comments, and tell teachers what you'd like them to know on the Readers' Respond page. For more ammunition about inclusion working, read "Eight Reasons to Be Inclusive."
Photo by Terri Mauro