This week we are excited to have a guest post by Sarah Rose. Sarah is a special education inclusion teacher at Oak Park Elementary School in Illinois. Her guest post this week is all about inclusive education. We hope you enjoy the post and find the resources Sarah shares with us useful.
- Jeremy and Patrick
Thinking outside of the box for Inclusion
When imagining what inclusion will look like for any one student you must take the same approach you would when developing his or her IEP. Think about the students individual needs, how you can make that happen in the general education setting, and how you can use any opportunity to promote the child’s independence while improving their social status. As anyone who is involved in inclusion knows, it is 50% about having the student academically involved and 50% about having him or her be socially involved. How sad would it be to only focus on one; having a student who shares with his friends, does great in groups and is the coolest kid in the class but hasn’t gained independence or learned new information. Vice versa, having a student who is learning all new things, gaining tons of knowledge, but the other students aren’t sure how to say hello, or have a million questions, or are to scared to invite their classmate over to play. Balancing these two aspects of inclusion takes a team of educators and parents who can think outside of the box and come up with new and creative ways to meet all of the social and academic needs of one student.
Below I have shared some of my favorite resources and examples of the many ways educators and families think outside of the box to promote inclusion and meet student’s individual needs.
Teaching Philosophies: Creating an inclusive culture
As Response to Intervention takes over our nation teachers are becoming “independent differentiators” and often have the best ideas, I get to spend more of my time asking “What do you think we should do?” instead of arguing why we must make accommodations and modifications and explaining why “it really is fair”. I get to spend more time working on helping develop an inclusive culture and less time creating tools and adapting materials, it is wonderful!
Great Resources for creating an inclusive culture
We recently began using outside consultants to help create an inclusive culture, at first I was timid but they have become one of my favorite resources. They can say something in a new and interesting way that will motivate staff and parents, and help them team solve problems we thought we would never find solutions for, I have worked with the following and have really enjoyed their input.
Patrick Schwarz (Inclusion specialist), Chris Flint (Autism Specialist), Paula Kluth (Inclusion Specialist), and online Patrick Black and Jeremy Brown have been some of my favorite guys to go to for ideas!
Universal Design tools are great for helping teachers get started, discover where problems may be occurring, and help a team think outside of the box. These links have resources for accessibility and planning.
Teaching Interaction skills: Bringing inclusion to all!
- Sarah Rose