Saturday, May 28, 2011
Including Samuel (and many others)
Click here to watch the video.
When I was in elementary school --in the 60s ---special needs children were often excluded from school altogether. In 1975, Congress passed Public Law 94-142 which ensured that handicapped children had a right to a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.
At that time, I was at Kent State University thinking about majoring in deaf education. Since then, I've worked at residential facilities for both hearing impaired kids and children with autism, public schools, and home health agencies. I've gone on to be a speech-language pathologist. In the public schools, I've worked in inclusive regular education classrooms and separate classrooms for our EC kids.
There's no 'one size fits all' answer out there, but in IEP meetings, I continue to try my best to be open-minded but gently push for inclusion. You can see in the video that this can be challenging, but the value of positive peer role models can not be underestimated! Plus, the value of having a special kid as a friend is invaluable to any regular education child!
I can't say it's the only way to go for all kids, but I can say that inclusion should be tried if it seems like a remote possibility. It seems like this is right for Samuel!