The Bottom Line
By Peggy A. Hammeken; 192 pages. Subtitle: A Practical Guide for All Educators Who Teach Students With Disabilities
All over the U.S., school districts are jumping into inclusion with both feet and their eyes closed, convinced that if you just put special ed kids in a mainstream classroom they'll magically fit in and start learning without any time or thought or money to be spent. If only. Teachers need this book, and they need it bad. But you may have to be the one to bring it to them.
- Lists strategies for a variety of needs, from academic to organizational.
- Provides an overview of just how inclusion is supposed to work.
- Offers proof that somebody somewhere is thinking about this stuff.
- Organized so you can easily pick and choose techniques appropriate to your child.
- Worksheets offer further help in tailoring a program; wouldn't it be great if schools used them?
- Parents can provide information, but can't always make sure it's used
- Implementing many of these strategies requires administrative support, which may not be forthcoming.
- Sad to see what could be done and realize it's not being done for your child.
- You'll wish your child was in school wherever it is the author is teaching.
- Chapter One: Getting Started
Chapter Two: Accommodations for the Student with Special Needs
- Chapter Three: Textbook Adaptations
Chapter Four: Daily Assignments
- Chapter Five: Written Language
Chapter Six: Spelling
- Chapter Seven: Mathematics
- Chapter Eight: Organizational Skills
- Chapter Nine: Directions
- Chapter Ten: Large Group Instructions
- Chapter Eleven: Classroom Assessment
- Chapter Twelve: Attention Difficulties
Guide Review - Book Review: Inclusion - 450 Strategies for Success
For years after my daughter was put in an inclusion classroom, I would sit in IEP meetings and ask the child study team, "What strategies are you going to use to modify the material for her?" I’d be met by so many blank stares, and a response that boiled down to "What are these modifications of which you speak?" It was like I was speaking an alien language.
Finding this book helped in one important way: It convinced me that I was not nuts. There were ways to do inclusion. There were useful strategies. Somebody somewhere had thought this through and was doing it right. And I had a published source to show when they said, "Modifications? What are those?" When they were still slow on the uptake, I could pick and choose a list that made sense for my daughter and have it placed in her IEP. If I could have actually stood in her classroom and done them, we’d have been in business.
In the end, you can't get inclusion from a book. You have to have a well-thought-out program from the district down, trained and enthusiastic staff to carry it out, support from administrators that amounts to more than lip service. A handful of untrained aides aren't going to be able to implement these strategies even if they want to, and certainly not if teachers just expect them to make copies and keep the kids quiet. But reading books like this one is important for parents nonetheless. It’s hard to agitate for something when you don’t even know what it’s supposed to look like.