What is Inclusion?
Submitted by Michelle Guppy, 16210 Cypress Trace, Cypress, TX 77429,
Inclusion is Freedom. When denied – both words bring harm to a child. Inclusion and Freedom are words worth fighting for….words that ARE fought for. Parents fight for inclusion in the schools and in society, soldiers fight for freedom in wars. Both are fought to protect the rights of children.
For a special needs child to have Freedom by Inclusion means that they are recognized as a person of equal standing. It means they are valued, they are important. It means they will not be ignored, mistreated, or thought of as a burden. Their needs, feelings, and rights are just as important as typical children’s. Whether the child has the capacity to understand that or not should not change the way they are treated by others.
For each child with special needs – inclusion has different meanings. For some it means being able to attend regular classes with regular students – without assistance. To others it may mean being in a regular classroom with an aide beside them to assist when necessary. To even others, it may only mean to be included in certain regular classroom activities – for Music, Lunch, and PE, for example. For my child it means being in his own classroom, with a one on one aide working on discrete trials; with the ultimate goal of perhaps those other forms of inclusion. Many different faces of inclusion – but the common thread is doing what is appropriate for each child. For the child to be respected and valued. It means doing for the child, what is best for the child – with the ultimate goal being to help make the child the best he or she can be.
I saw inclusion and all it means in action the other day. It was Field Day at my son’s school. I went there to take pictures. I knew my child would not be able to perform the activities, but I wanted a picture for his scrapbook anyway. It was my son’s turn to ride the tricycle around the cone and back. He can’t ride a bike. With his teacher on one side, and a typical student from his team, on the other side, they carefully pushed the bike around the cone and back. Parents who did not know my son, and whom I did not know, clapped for him in the background. My son was never aware of this and could have cared less if he was included or not. But I did.
That is Inclusion…..a confidence that as a parent, your child will be treated like the above, – even when you are not there to witness it. Especially, — when you are not there to witness it.
I read about the lack of inclusion and all it means the other day. It was in an article from Feat News. The article was titled, “The Day Christopher Died……..”
by Michelle Guppy