In truly inclusive classrooms, students do not have to leave to learn. All students remain in the general education classroom community and the team of educators collectively determines how to meet each student’s need through team teaching, differentiation, modifications and thoughtful embedded supports.
Including students with special education labels in general education is better for all. Much is known about the benefits of including students with disabilities in the general education classroom. We know that inclusion increases the rate of learning for all students and improves the classroom as a whole through increased access to resources, technology and differentiated instruction. Inclusive classrooms embrace diversity, build positive relationships, foster social responsibility and provide students with heightened opportunities to develop skills of collaboration and interdependence. And let’s face it, because we live in a diverse society, it is important that all students learn to live work and play together for the good of our communities.
Despite these known benefits, inclusion is still not a given for many students with disabilities. As parents, you play an essential role in advocating for inclusion for your child. Whether you are in the early stages of understanding your child’s individual needs, already advocating for an inclusive classroom or hoping to understand inclusion best practices, the information in this article is vital. It is important to understand exactly what inclusion is, why it is essential and how to work with your school team to achieve it.
This booklet was developed to help parents with their thinking on how best to advocate for their child when achieving inclusion.