Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Inclusion

I had a great chat today with Paul about inclusion of children with special needs in community schools. He sent me a questionnaire asking my viewpoints on this. I think it's important if we are a District of Choice that ALL parents have equal opportunity to make the choice that is best for their child. For inclusion to be successful, we need adequate support in the classroom, sufficient funding for those supports and more information about the benefits of inclusion. Currently, there is a great deal of misunderstanding surrounding the idea and people of children without special needs often fear the negative effects of inclusion. With the correct supports, inclusion teaches tolerance, compassion, active citizenship and fosters the understanding that we all have limitations and we all have gifts. These are lessons that will serve our children well throughout life. Studies also show that there is no negative impact on academic achievement for "regular" students who are part of an inclusive classroom, while there are tremendous positive gains academically and socially for children with special needs.

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