By Megan Purvis
My Definition of Inclusion
Why Is Inclusion Important?
All people have certain qualities that make them unique, and to discriminate against people because of these traits is simply unethical. Some people may do things differently than what is considered normal, but it is still always possible and extremely necessary for them to be included. For example, many people may think that students with intellectual disabilities need to have individualized education or be in classes separate from their typically developing peers, but in reality, it is most beneficial for them to be included in a general education classroom as much as possible. These students may have certain accommodations or need specific modifications to some activities in order to succeed, but they are still able to be fully included in a general education classroom.
Including everyone, despite differences, promotes diversity, which I believe is an extremely important part of day to day life. Students don't just learn from educators; they learn a lot from their peers as well. Being constantly surrounded people who are all similar to you is simply uninteresting and does not provide you with the opportunity to see how other people live their lives differently from you. The ability to get along with and include people who are different from you is a vital skill to have in life, so implementing this in the classroom teaches students how to do this from an early age.
The Challenges of Inclusion
- Can be costly (staff, curriculum, accommodations, etc.)
- People can be unaccepting of others because of their differences
- Students with disabilities are usually targeted more for bullying than other students
- Many people are hesitant to work with people with disabilities because they have no experience doing so or simply think they cannot succeed to the same extent as everyone else
- Not everybody has an open mind about embracing everyone's differences
- Some general education teachers are underprepared or not trained to teach students with disabilities
Learning About Inclusion
The videos that we watched in class also heavily impacted my view of inclusion. Seeing first hand the effect that inclusion can have on people who may otherwise be excluded was very meaningful and helped me see its importance. In particular, the video about Paw Pals Cafe really helped me better understand how to include children who are different from each other in the same activities and why it is beneficial to do so.
Another class activity that really helped me with this concept was Alana's presentation about her daughter Darcy. I really enjoyed hearing her real life examples about the challenges and benefits that have come from doing everything she can to make sure Darcy is included in a general education class as much as possible.
Classroom Resources for Inclusion
- Using UDL is a great way to make sure all students are included in the learning process. This way, information is represented and implemented in several different ways so that students who learn differently are able to comprehend the same material.
- Give students with disabilities the accommodations that they need to succeed in the classroom, such as extended testing time, assistive technology, or audiobooks.