Friday, August 26, 2011

Inclusion in school? Is it for my child?

Last night was "Back to School Night" for the boys.  When the boys were five, I remember having to make some tough decisions about how we wanted to proceed with Davey's education.  We had so many decisions to make.  What about inclusion?  Is it where Davey belonged?  What were the important factors we were looking for in Davey's education?  I was concerned that we wouldn't make the right choices for Davey.  So many of the parents I had met felt that that fully including their child in school was the most important thing for their child.  Did we want to mainstream our son?  David and I were not so sure this was the right place for Davey.  Did we want Davey in a "typical" classroom?  Should he be in a "typical" classroom with an aide or "para"?  Should he be a in a classroom geared toward his learning style?  What about full inclusion?  Is it for my son?

Inclusion in education is an approach to educating students with special educational needs. Under the inclusion model, students with special needs spend most or all of their time with non-disabled students. Implementation of these practices varies. Schools most frequently use them for selected students with mild to severe special needs.[1]
Inclusive education differs from previously held notions of ‘integration’ and ‘mainstreaming’, which tended to be concerned principally with disability and ‘special educational needs’ and implied learners changing or becoming ‘ready for’ or deserving of accommodation by the mainstream. By contrast, inclusion is about the child’s right to participate and the school’s duty to accept the child. Inclusion rejects the use of special schools or classrooms to separate students with disabilities from students without disabilities. A premium is placed upon full participation by students with disabilities and upon respect for their social, civil, and educational rights.

Although I do not like to compare our twins, I do notice differences in the learning styles of the boys.  Was it fair to Davey to place him in a typical classroom?  No, David and I did not think so.  We felt it was better for Davey to be the classroom that would best fit his learning style.  He is allowed to learn at his own pace. He is reading, writing, doing math, science, history at his pace.  BUT, he is also included with the typical kids at school.  He spends time daily in a "typical" classroom.  He attends music, PE, computers, library, field trips with all of his same age peers.

Is there a right or wrong answer to this question?  I do not think so.  I want the best education possible for my son.

Be gentle.

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