Inclusive education is not rocket science…
I think there are two basic assumptions that you need in order support inclusion (in any context)
- All human beings are created equal (you know the American way) and deserve to be treated as such.
- All human beings have a desire to belong in a community and live, thrive and have a sense of purpose.
Most people don’t have a problem with number one (for goodness sake…I hope you don’t). But when we think about people with disabilities (or people who are labeled as such)… phrases like “I’m not sure what they are getting out of this,” or “do they even understand,” are far too prevalent.
The important takeaway…when you assume people want to belong. Then it is our duty as educators, parents, and advocates to figure out how we can make that happen.
For more on my fundamental beliefs about inclusion read part one of my “self-conatined life” series, my guest post: Fear Factor – Getting over the biggest obstacle to inclusion at SpecialEducationAdvisor.com, my guest post series called “The Case for Inclusion” on NICHCY.org as well as a guest post on my reflections from the TASH 2011 conference in Atlanta.
Also check out the video made by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE). I have recently been involved with a pilot LRE project for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. This is one of the students I have been working with. The GaDOE has created a page on their website detailing the process if you are interested in replicating it.
Why this blog?
My ultimate goal for this blog is that it serve as a resource for educators (especially those who work with students with significant cognitive disabilities), for parents and for self-advocates. Here is how this blog will do that:
- EDUCATE. (Provide exceptional content). This is my heart and soul for this website. I don’t want just my ramblings and thoughts but of other authors/professionals, parents of children with disabilities, and advocates (including self-advocates) who know what works. Check back often for new posts and articles. Hey you can even subscribe to our newsletter! I promise not to spam you.
- EMPOWER. (Provide resources you can use now! ) My vision is to give educators resources to download, video examples to watch, and podcasts to listen to (in the context of how to make inclusion work for your students and children). Other resources will include articles in support of inclusion and links to various quality websites where parents, advocates and educators can learn more information. While this is still in the works…check back often for new resources. Also…you can support the website by buying things at the store which has suggested products for the home and classroom.
- INSPIRE. (Provide a forum for discussion) Too often the word “advocate” tends to bring chills up the spines of educators and school administrators. The truth of the matter is that the word educator and advocate should be synonymous. Check out the forums to see what is working in your neck of the woods and collaborate with other like-minded people.
What is the catch?
In the spirit of full disclosure…This eventually will be a for-profit site which explains the future creation of Think Inclusive, LLC. The rise of the teacherpreneur is one of the things that inspired me to create this website (check out the article…I think is the future of teaching in any area of expertise).
While I would like to say I can teach full time at my school as well as curate this site, write blog posts, create materials, record podcasts/videos, and moderate forum discussion all in my spare time and for free…it is certainly not true. My goal is to give you the very best content possible…so in the future I will be offering premium services which will include exclusive articles, ebooks/ibooks, lesson plans, materials, webinars, video modules, etc. BUT for now…all of Think Inclusive’s content with be free. If you are interested in creating a FREE membership, you can use it to participate in the forums.
Thanks for hanging in there with me. If you got past the last section…I know that you see some value in what I am trying to do with this website. Please join our newsletter or better yet create a FREE member account and become part of a group of people dedicated to finding solutions for inclusive schools and communities.
I would love to talk with you…please feel free to contact me with any comments, questions or concerns.
Photo Credit: jakeandlindsay