1. Inclusion teaches us how to be more accepting of others.
By learning and playing alongside of children with different abilities, children learn to accept everyone regardless of their adaptive equipment, computer assisted speech, hand flapping, or different facial features.
2. Inclusion teaches us how to be more tolerant of differences.
When children see that some students read better than others, and others run faster, and still others play the piano better, they learn to recognize that each person has something to offer. They also learn that everyone has an area for improvement. Soon, they recognize that differences are a good thing and that those differences are actually what makes the world a better place.
3. Inclusion teaches us how to help others who may need assistance.
Children learn to incorporate a variety of strategies to help each other. When they learn alongside children with different learning abilities, they are also learning how to help others succeed. Jesse Jackson said it best, “The only time you should look down on a person is when you are helping them get up.”
When Inclusion Does Not Teach Us
Dumping children with disabilities in to general education settings without the necessary supports and services causes harm to everyone.
- The student with disabilities does not receive the necessary support and as a result struggles in environment both socially and academically.
- The peers in the classroom are negatively affected when their teacher and classmate are not supported.
- And finally, the general education teacher needs training to know how to teach and include children with disabilities, how to manage a variety of challenging behaviors, and how structure a class that welcomes children of varying abilities.
We all have something to learn from inclusion. But each of us can only learn when the context supports learning. Educators and administrators in education have the responsibility of providing the appropriate supports and services to ensure that everyone can benefit from inclusion.
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