Tomorrow Is Too Long to Wait for Inclusion

Inclusion Is All About Supports

Thaysa-Dan-Habib; an elementary school girl is sitting at her desk using a communication device with her classmates around her and a support teacher behind her. everyone is smiling

If you are not willing to differentiate instruction for the wide range of learners that you have, including students with autism, then you are in the wrong profession.

-Holly Prud’homme (General Education Teacher at Mape Wood Elementary in New Hampshire)

Are some students too hard to include in general education?

It has been my experience that the reason inclusive education fails is never because of the student; it fails because of lack of support or not the right kind of support. The following video, “Thaysa” made by Dan Habib  (Including SamuelWho Cares about Kelsey? and Intelligent Lives), is the perfect example of how a student with significant support needs is given what she requires to be successful in general education.

Is this example going to be the model for everyone? Of course not. The model is the willingness to try and listen to what each student is telling us. Inevitably, there are going to be students (and families) who don’t want to be included in general education. That is okay. Why would we want to force someone with a disability to do something that they don’t want to do? The point is that inclusive education should never be a fixed equation. You are X. Therefore you are put in X classroom with X amount of supports. When we reduce special education to a formula, we are not serving the unique needs of our students.

Inclusion Is a Mindset

Say it with me. Inclusion is a mindset. 

Now that you have said it, watch the video below. It is about 14 minutes long, and it highlights what Thaysa’s school has in place for her to be successful. Then, after you watch it, check out Dan’s other films. You won’t regret it.

Thaysa from Dan Habib on Vimeo.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted in 2012 and has been updated with a new featured image, formatting, and new post content. 

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Tim Villegas

Founder and Curator-At-Large at Think Inclusive
Tim Villegas has worked in the field of special education and with people with disabilities for over ten years. Tim has turned his passion for blogging and promoting ideas about inclusive schools and communities into his own website, thinkinclusive.us. He believes that we can create a bridge between educators, parents, and advocates (including self-advocates) to promote ideas, innovation and inspiration to change our world to be more accepting and value each and every human being. Tim lives with his fetching wife and three adorable children in Marietta, GA.
  • Ali

    Ok, I don’t usually watch videos like this because I know I’m going to cry. I thought I was hanging in there and then lost it when Thaysa’s classmates took her hands and walked with her to help her. What a wonderful environment and that school is doing such a great job with her AND the other students. Love it.

    • Tim Villegas

      Thanks for your comment Ali! I really appreciate you taking the time to write. I think this is a great example of how the single focus of helping ALL learners can change the school culture. I love the principal’s comment “It is just who we are…” (gets me every time). We need to become more like that… inclusion is “just who we are”.

  • It takes work, but it can be done, and done well. Just found your page today – you might want to look at Partnership for Extraordinary Minds (www.xminds.org). It’s a small non profit in MD working to pull researchers, parents, educators and policy makers together to help diploma bound students achieve in the school setting. Keep up the good work!

  • Holly Prudhomme

    I LOVE that this video is out there being shared!!! I hope many people that watch it become empowered to make positive inclusive changes for their own students if they have previously felt unable to do so. Thanks Tim! =)

  • Tim Villegas

    @Holly It is an honor that you would comment on the post. Thanks for being a great example! I hope to connect and discuss how we can promote this message to more educators.

  • Tim Villegas

    @Stacey Thanks for the link…I will look into it!

  • Thanks Tim, this is another great example of inclusion by Dan Habib. We are showing Including Samuel as we celebrate Inclusion Week this year in our community!! One step forward for our schools and community. RAIN is excite. This movie can be next on the list or maybe we can have the teachers view it during lunch. Thanks.

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