Inclusion in the classroom

  I am going to discuss inclusion of students with special needs even though inclusion to me means including everyone regardless of gender, race, citizenship, sexual orientation, religion, etc.  I grew up regularly visiting my uncle with cerebral palsy who lived with my grandmother, (his mother).  My grandmother was a kindergarten teacher prior to having her own children, and she fought to have disabled children, including my uncle, accepted into the Tulsa Public Schools 60 – 70 years ago.  Because it is one of those things I have known all of my life, I never thought to find out more of that amazing story.  (Unfortunately, my grandmother and uncle are both dead now, but this feat of my grandmother’s is something I would like to research).

     In my future classroom I hope I am especially sensitive and adept at making any students with disabilities part of our community.  Katie Kissinger writes about the responsibility of the teacher to be a role model to students showing them how to connect with special needs students even if the teacher has to dig deep to get over some of her own fears and ignorance.  Since I certainly am not familiar with all disabilities, I will have to educate myself and conquer any fears.  From my very limited observation, teachers too often let the para-educator take care of the special needs student and do not involve that student in the whole classroom community as much as every other student is included.  My classmates and I discussed how this almost pretending the child is not in the room or is just like all of the other students is similar to how another author described many well-meaning people as being “color-blind” to race.  Children notice and are curious, so the teacher must notice and satiate curiosity.  It is important to do so not in a “freak-show” kind of way, but in a way that lets the student with special needs know he or she is valued and everyone wants to get to know him or her.  The goal is to get to know and include the special needs student.  Educating the teacher and the other students just happens to be part of that process, not the end goal.  The special needs student has not been included in the class just as an educational tool to teach the other students to “be nice.”  He or she has been included, because he or she deserves an education and friends and a community just like all of the other children.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s