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This page contains resources pertaining to Teacher Education, Parent Education and School Promotion. The site is used by educators from more than 60 countries and averages about 1800 views per month.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Response to the Case for Inclusion

By:  Carol Alver
April 8, 2010

Over the years, I have had the privilege of learning most of the worthwhile lessons about life from the special needs children that were in my classes.  Unfortunately, most schools do not openly include these children for fear that it will take too much time away from the rest of the class.  That is the first false premise.  It is the children themselves – albeit being guided by a calm and patient teacher – who learn to reach out and understand the needs of their peers.   If the adult responds every time the special needs child has an issue, the message to the class is that the adults will take care of it.  We established the following paradigm:
            Never respond to a need without taking a child who is not busy along!
This meant that a child was always present and included in helping solve a problem or figure out a need and the response to that need.  Soon, we observed that when a need arose, a child would notice and feel competent that she had the skills to go and help – without the adult.  

Just two weeks ago I was observing a class with a child who often lost control and became very disruptive.  If the first attempts to help him failed, an adult would take him outside to run or participate in some large motor activity for a few minutes and then bring him back.  This child also loved to have someone read to him.  During my visit, the young boy became very destructive – deliberately knocking over the pink tower, pulling the rug out from under a child’s work, etc.  He was taken outside to do some large motor skill exercises for a few minutes and brought back in.  A young 3 ½ year old girl went up to him with a big smile and said, “Would you like me to read to you?” (Of course, she can’t read a word yet!)  She took him by the hand to the library, invited him to choose a book, and sat there making up a story from the pictures.  This went on for 37 minutes.  Just looking at the faces of these two children enjoying their shared time was reward enough.

I went home thinking about that little girl and what her response to her parent would be when the parent said, “Tell me what you did in school today!”

Download the full pdf file here: ResposetoInclusion.pdf

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