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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Writer/Curator/Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project. Contributing Author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and Concepts of Normality by Wendy Lawson, and soon to be published Gravity Pulls You In. Writing my own book. Lecturer on autism and the media and parenting. Current graduate student Critical Disability Studies and most importantly, mother of Adam -- a new and emerging writer.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” -- Baruch Spinoza

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Consider these thoughts from Paula Kluth on Inclusive Education:

Some parents and teachers assum that some students with disabilities cannnot be provided an inclusive education because their skills are not similar enough to those of students without disabilities. This is perhaps the most common misconception about the law that exists among families and teachers. Students with disabilities do not need to keep up with students without disabilities to be educated in inclusive classrooms; they do not need to engage in the curriculum in the same way as students without disabilities; and they do not need to practice the same skills as students without disabilities. In sum, no prerequisites are needed for a learner to be able to participate in inclusive education....students with disabilities can participate in general education without engaging in the same ways and without having the same skills and abilities others in the class may have. In addition, this example highlights ways in which students with disabilities can work on individual skills and goals within the context of general education lessons. It is also important to note that the supports and adaptations proviced ...were designed by teachers and put in place to facilitate a [particular students'] success. [A special student] is not expected to have all of the skills and abilities possessed by other students in order to participate in the classroom. Instead teachers [can create] a context in which [a student] could "show up" as competent."

Although understanding inclusive education, the laws related to it, and practical strategies are important, nothing is more helpful in learning about inclusive schooling than doing it. Teachers in today's schools must make a commitment to value the participation of all and to work toward good inclusive practises every day. It is my hope that readers will understand this chapter as a call to action, begin to see inclusive schooling as a verb, and help students with autism gain access to inclusive classrooms and educational experiences.

Perhaps the most important reason to pursue inclusive education, however, is to provide all students with an education that respects the diversities they bring to our schools. As one teacher commented, inclusive schooling is not for about students with disabilities, it is for and about all learners. `I don't call it inclusive because of [my students with autism]. I call it inclusive because ...I am a teacher of all kids.' (Kasa-Hedirkson, 2002, p.145)"

By moving towards inclusive education I guess it is political. There is no way avoiding it, I have moved into action. Everyone I talk to doesn't understand inclusive education or understand that special kids can integrate into the classroom. Money, resources, training, all come into dialogue. What it requires is a change of heart and mind - thinking out of a very narrow box.


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