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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Full Inclusion

Full Inclusion

Related Tags: Special Education
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Curious to see how full inclusion is working at your school. Especially elementary level. With all the behavior problems and need of extra support, I just can't see it.

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Sheri Haught's picture

Inclusion is so important to the students-not only those with disabilities, but also their peers. The earlier they are included, the better. You disolve stereotypes and fears based on lack of knowledge. The so called 'regular ed' students generally love to have everyone included and enjoy the responsibilities of helping. Educating the general ed. teachers is key - as is a supportive administration. There are so many benefits to inclusion and sometimes an all out school wide on-going staff develpment with several sessions and follow-up are necessary. Keep a positive attitude and build the self-esteem of those student. Sometimes you also need to build the self-esteem of those reluctant teachers as well. They may seem beligerant and contrary, but its probably just their reaction to the unknown and not wanting to admit that they don't really know what to do. Good luck to all trying inclusion - its such a great thing for all involved if done right. Keep reading up on it and look for classes and staff development. Get excited about it and spread that excitement!

Sheri Haught's picture

Inclusion is great if done right - need support of administration and lots of positive attitude and staff develpment. Build the self-esteem of your student - don't forget that those reluctant gen ed teachers need their self-esteem built up, too. Their just unsure of what to do and have a hard time asking. Change can be scary - encourage them to embrace it - its better for all in the end. Good luck to all who move toward inclusion. I've done it from kindergarten through 9th grade over the years. It works!!

LPS's picture
Cross Categorical/self-contained - Teacher

It is always dependent on my group dynamics. Since I work with students ranging from Mild to significant disabilities. It is always a team decision. Some students who only need intermediate support in GE can go without support for at least a couple of hours at a time. Sometimes, I have to divide and conquer, often I see an improvement in behaviors when they are separated from other students who may trigger each other. I am very concerned about next year because GE classrooms are going to be much larger. (closer to 30 at all grade levels in K-2) This may mean less mainstreaming/inclusive opportunities. We still don't know how budget cuts will affect/effect our staff/or school.

Jan Barrett's picture
Jan Barrett
Inclusion Specialist/Coach

I agree with everything that Harmony said. Inclusion is not easy, it is not for every student and it takes time and enegry to make it work. Communication is key. General Education teachers want to do the right thing for all of their students and often feel at a loss when it comes to students with disabilities. Our most critical role as specialists is that of coach. This includes teaching and supporting the gen ed teachers in understanding the individual student, his/her unique characteristics and needs and especially the goals for inclusion. We must also have a good understanding of the academic, social and emotional demands in each teacher's learning environment in order to assist in determining appropriate accommodations and supports. Ongoing communication among the gen ed teacher, paraprofessionals, other service providers and ourselves will result in a practical and effective plan for inclusion. It takes a whole team with common goals and an expectation of success!

JMC's picture
Special Education teacher K-12 specialization LD

the student(s)are close to 2 grade levels behind? I want to transition smoothly from partial to full inclusion, but how is this possible with behavior issues along with reading and mathematics at such a large discrepency as the class? What is the best inclusion model out there that works so far? Is it more or less having a desk or area in one part of the classroom, or circulating around the room while helping ALL students including the ones that you are suppose to help? And last but not least, how can I scaffold back to teach someone 3X5 (that they have not mastered) when the rest of the class is focusing on 25X35 and keep their attention on me, not what the classroom teacher is expecting them to do? They are getting confused in concepts. Can anybody enlighten me as to how to transition to full inclusion smoothly and work well with the classroom teachers to make this work right? Assume right now that there is no training available.... Can I find workshops on inclusion? Help??

JB's picture
Intervention Specialist

Wow- 78% pass the tests- I would love to know how you are getting that done!I teach 7th grade- resource room for Lang. Arts and Math, and I have gotten kids up from limited to basic and only a couple to proficient. Some of my students are on Alt. Assessment, but the others range in reading levels of low2nd to 4th grade levels. I feel like I work my *** off to encourage and inspire them to put forth enough effort to at least bump up a level, but to get them to actually pass- it's like getting all of my teeth pulled out. In an inner city district such as mine, it seems like alot of issues are brought to school, kids don't see the importance in school, let alone passing a test. Motivation to do well isn't a top priority of the students and even the parents. Excuses are made right and left, and spec. ed. as a subcategory hss not made AYP for 6 yrs now-spec.ed.teachers are being blamed and actually, sadly, being disrespected by administration in our buulding due to this. suggestions?..this would be a good topic to open up to everyone.

pat's picture
Inclusion Teacher, NJ

The program is working, but at times I feel we are pushing our students through the school day to get everything in! Some of my inclusion students do go out for 3 periods per day for extra help in multisensory reading and math, but the majority of the day is spent with the reg ed students. There is some frustration on their part but I also see them striving for things I would not have thought they would have tried, such as more challenging math work.

Lynn Moore's picture
Lynn Moore
Middle School Science Teacher, transferring to High School Science Teacher

Inclusion makes sense- but as all of you have noted it works best if the general ed teacher is provided with training and support to differentiate for these students. Dumping students in all together is not what inclusions means - unfortunately that is sometimes how it happens. And that is unfortunate for everyone. Training teachers to deal with the even wider needs for differentiation in inclusion would go a long way in helping the inclusion model work its best.

Rhonda Browning's picture

Remind the regular eds in advance to be sure to include your students in materials provision.(Hand them an extra pack of paper from the Special Education Department's supply or buy one yourself if you have a chintzy principal. $4 is worth the self esteem of the kids and virtually eliminates that excuse.) If they persist in excluding them after 2 warnings the lack of cooperation is intentional. Take it to the principal and/or call your most formidable coordinator in to light a fire under them. Also, be sure, if there is to be a schoolwide field trip, field day, or assembly, that yours are included. (Address accessibility issues in advance. Yes they do have to provide a lift bus! They cannot exclude the kids with wheelchairs just because it costs more!) Be prepared to have some regulars and even poorly educated generics mad at you. This is ok. They are still on a learning curve even after 30 years of special ed. Your job is that of an advocate if you bear the proud name, Special Ed!

If they persist and the principal is not supportive or is anti-special ed, put everything in the IEPs so that when the principal tries to exclude them, all you have to say is that one magic sentence: IT'S IN HIS IEP!. They can't argue with a legal document, especially one that they signed! This gets through to principals extremely well since they are required to sign IEPS but don't usually read them unless they are special educators or parents of kids with special needs themselves.

Remember that in a lot of schools we are still redheaded stepchildren: We teachers are day care workers and our kids can't learn. Build a family with your special ed. colleagues and welcome openly as brothers and sisters the regulars who are, as is our greatest compliment, "Good enough to be Special Ed!"

Finally, there is strength in numbers. No principal or teacher wants a whole department rolling its eyes and speaking only professionally. We had to do that to a principal and her secretary who hinted that our Behavior Disorders teachers cheated on the standardized testing. Extinction is a difficult but effective behavioral intervention.

Rhonda Browning's picture

You are teaching middle school. Hardly any kids are doing their best because popularity, the opposite sex, their changing bodies,and how they look is their priority. Even the smartest ones fall down in 6-8.

If you are feeling hostility in regular ed. administration, discuss it with your Special Education Director if she is supportive. It is her job to act as a liaison between regular and special education and to protect her teachers. Your first loyalty is to your department, not your school because your unit can be moved, teachers, paras and students and equipment, if necessary, to a better school. Unless the negativity has infiltrated the department, in which case you are in major trouble and may have to get the union in, your Coordinator and Director are your best ally.

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