What is inclusive education?

Inclusion is an opportunity for individuals with disabilities or special education needs to be able to learn along side of their peers in a regular general education classroom. Students should be supported to learn in an all inclusive environment so that all children may participate together. Promoting a positive and respectful environment is key for supporting these learners and helping them overcome any obstacles.

Why is it Important?

Students with disabilities should have the opportunity to be educated along side of their peers. It gives them the chance to grow, collaborate, and learn at a deeper level with their peers and teachers. Students without disabilities should be integrated into classes with students with disabilities. This gives them the chance to learn and grow on a deeper level. All students should be viewed as as unique and worthwhile.

Through diversity it adds to creativity. Strength and creativity lies in the diversity of a classroom!

Additional Resources:

My Understanding

While federal legislation does not state that schools must support "inclusion", it does say that they must provide a Least Restrictive Environment. These two things somewhat go hand in hand but I do not believe they are the same thing.

Some videos have influenced my views on inclusion. Many videos in class where special education students have been in general education classes have shown me that inclusion really works and promotes successful learning.

Resources for the Teacher

1. Begin at the End- Backward planning can help to ensure that you are going to reach your goals. First, complete an overview of the students IEP, review the behavioral and learning goals. Determine how the goals intersect with your classroom goals. Next, sketch out individual lessons that directly align with the students goals. Have a list of supports or back up aids just in case you need assistance. Finally, adjust the lesson plan to make sure they accommodate the needs of the special education student.

2. Embrace Universal Design- This makes the curriculum available to all students regardless of their learning styles and abilities. This approach ensures that you reach all of your students regardless of their educational abilities. There are many ways you can embrace universal design for learning.

3. Formulate a Flexible Behavioral Management Plan- Clearly communicate your expectations and goals. Create a checklist or action plan for certain students. It can have lists or short phrases what to do in certain situations. For example, how to review their work, put away supplies, where to put certain supplies, what to do for an independent task, and when they may get out of their seat. Encouraging effective peer leadership is also a great tool for behavioral management plans.