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25 Signs Your Child's Classroom Isn't Really So Inclusive

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25 Signs Your Child's Classroom Isn't Really So Inclusive Photo: Dave Einsel/Getty Images

So your school claims to be doing inclusion, your child's team is all "least restrictive environment" about it, there are back-pats all around about the shiny happiness of including kids with special needs ... but is it true inclusion, designed to meet the needs of all learners in an environment where everybody is accepted as a valuable member of the class, or "inclusion," designed to provide an appearance of inclusiveness without actually changing anything? Look for these 25 warning signs that their heart's not really in it:

  1. The special-ed kids are in the back of the room.
  2. The special-ed kids get pulled out regularly.
  3. The special-ed kids are referred to as "the special-ed kids."
  4. The special-ed co-teacher refers to the classified students as "my kids."
  5. The regular-ed co-teacher refers to the special-ed teacher as an aide.
  6. The regular-ed teacher refers to your child as "Hey, you."
  7. No one can explain to you how your child is being taught.
  8. Or what.
  9. Or where.
  10. Or why.
  11. You mention "differentiated instruction," and school personnel look at you like you're speaking a foreign language.
  12. Inclusion does not extend to after-school clubs.
  13. Or in-school clubs.
  14. Or lunch.
  15. Or recess.
  16. Or math, or reading.
  17. Or history, or science.
  18. It does apply to gym, where your child is in with kids who are bigger, older, and better at aiming a dodgeball.
  19. Though children's work is displayed on the walls, none of it is by your child or other students with disabilities.
  20. Somebody tells you this is because they don't want to embarrass your child for doing different work.
  21. Your child's assistive technology needs are ignored.
  22. Your child's behavior-management needs are ignored.
  23. Your child's presence in the classroom is ignored.
  24. Your child's educational goals seem to be focused on sitting still, being quiet, and not bothering anybody.
  25. You are encouraged to embrace those same qualities any time you ask a question about inclusion.
So what should your kid's classroom look like? Check these 25 signs that an inclusion class is for real.
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