This is my second year teaching in an inclusion classroom. My co-teacher is the special education teacher and I am the general education teacher. Our classroom has children with special needs and typical peers. We don’t separate the children. We work together, differentiating our lessons to meet the needs of all of our students. We teach the second grade curriculum.
So why don’t parents want their “normal” children in an inclusion classroom? I must admit I took it personally at first. Not because they questioned my teaching ability. I thought they wouldn’t want their children in a room with children like Sydney. No matter how much I advocate, preach about awareness, empathy and acceptance. There will always be parents that do not want their child to have an experience in an inclusion setting. I wonder how they would feel if their child had a disability? Would they feel the same way?
Inclusion teachers work hard. We multi-task and teach all children. When I think about that statement all teachers do this. Every classroom is really an inclusion room if you think about it. Unless you just happen to have the odds stacked in your favor and get a hand-picked class. I’m sure that doesn’t even happen anymore. In the majority of the classrooms, not all students are reading at the same level. Lessons will be taught in small groups for re-teaching. All classrooms have students with behavior issues. There are also children in the general education setting that haven’t been officially diagnosed and may struggle with learning issues.
So why not inclusion? Your attitude toward inclusion will affect how your child will view inclusion. If you or someone you love is in my shoes, then you understand my concern. You will know that we only want our children to be accepted, and included. Your child can be a great model for a child with disabilities. I want Sydney to learn from all of her peers.
As I am writing this I had an “aha” moment. I don’t think that the parents have anything against the teachers or the students with disabilities. They might be concerned about the behaviors that their child might witness. I believe that these parents want the best for their child. They want to make sure that their child is challenged, given support and enjoys their school day. Yes, that is what all parents want for their children. My prayer is that children with disabilities can learn from their typical peers and model their excellent behavior.
Give Inclusion A Chance!
From An Autism Mommy