Inclusion Good or Bad?
Chances are people who know me will not be happy with this post, in fact they may be quite annoyed with my opinion. I have never been one not to state an opinion because it might have opposing opinions. In fact it seems to be a great way to get people thinking and talking.
I understand why people have and continue to fight so hard for children with disabilities to be in a class of their peers in the public school system, inclusion. As long as that is what a child’s parents want I will fight for that as well.
The public school is set up and teachers are trained to teach the children on the top of the bell curve, not the children on either end. This could be why so many people (in my area) pay out of pocket for their child to attend private school. Schools that are designed for children with disabilities, have staff trained to teach and work with children with disabilities, and are better prepared to offer children with disabilities an appropriate education. I know that in the conventional way of thinking this takes these children out of a classroom of their peers. I have a different take on what a peer is. In most IEP meeting I have been in a peer is defined as someone the same grade and age level. My experience as a mother of a couple of children with disabilities is, that a peer is someone you have things in common with, that you enjoy being around, and that you understand. My children have show that they prefer to play and spend time with children who have similar disabilities.
Can we, should we, expect the public school systems to provide what our disabled children individualized and appropriate educations? Can they do a good job of it considering that most public school teachers are not prepared nor do they have the time to focus a great deal of attention on your child? In fact your child might have a 1:1 aide, an aide that may have some training, but know were near enough (in most cases) to be your child’s main teacher (I know they are not supposed to be, but they are, they are with your child all the time) for your child to receive an appropriate education. Can they do a good job on limited budgets? Can they when there is only one special education teacher (our school anyhow) and your child not only sees them infrequently, for very short periods of time? Can they do a good job, when you the parent needs to educate the school staff on your child’s IEP team, about your child’s special needs, their strengths and weaknesses?
At my leadership event this weekend our key speaker for the event said to me that the emotionally disabled children are like canarys. If the school isn’t going well for them, that is a warning sign that the school is not good for anyone! That the public school systems need to be changed so that they work for everyone. Not just the 68% of students that sit on the top and sides of the bell curve.
More to come I am sure!
This, of course is just my opinion and experience.
Northeast Two-Cylinder Club, and he gets to do what ever public things he chooses ie. sking.
I can certaining see how certain settings would strip a child of their public life.
- Gregory Galluzzo, Gamaliel Foundation