Chapter 1-Preparing for Inclusion
This chapter begins with a history of inclusive education from its very beginning, the complete segregation of students to the way things are in current days. Although this is an American history, there was a similar sequence here in British Columbia. In fact, British Columbia was cited as ahead of the game in this book. Yay British Columbians for the forward thinking!
According to Hall, inclusion means “Full membership of an age-appropriate class in your local school doing the same lessons as other pupils and it mattering if you are not there. Plus you have friends who spend time with you outside of school.” (page 6) We all know that every child, regardless of their abilities, are capable of learning and everyone deserves to learn with their peers in the general education classroom, with the appropriate supports. Inclusion requires that everyone, regardless of their abilities, has access to an engaging, rich and supportive educational experience.
There are many examples of people with disabilities who have been very successful in their lives. People such as Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Temple Grandin, and, more recently, Zack Anners have all done very well for themselves, and the rest of the world, through their accomplishments, in spite of their disabilities. This just goes to show, once again, that with equitable education, all children can do great things if given the opportunity to shine.
There are many benefits to inclusion. Emotional, academic, and social benefits occur for both children with disabilities and their peers. Inclusion allows children with disabilities to feel a sense of belonging, the ability to make and maintain friendships and the ability to increase their academic competence. It also allows children without disabilities to learn empathy, and increase their academic competence, among many other things.
“There is only one criterion required for being included: breathing.” (page 9) Wow! That is powerful! Now, how do we do this effectively? I guess one response would be to continue reading through this book!
How does your idea of inclusion fit with the information given in this chapter?