Monday, September 7, 2009

How do you do Inclusion?

The discussion of inclusion is always ongoing, and typically varies by district and student.  My district has been considered 'full inclusion' in the past, which was a bit of a shock to me when I started teaching.   I just didn't know how I was supposed to be taking these students who are non-verbal, non-ambulatory, with limited motor skills, into inclusion classes all day long-- how was I going to keep them involved, when would I be able to work on their IEP goals that could not be done in class.  I have tried lots of different classes and schedules to see how inclusion works the best with my students, and I think we are finally in a comfortable place with how much my students are 'included' during the school day.
  • most of my students go into inclusion science and LA classes with their grade level, as I've found these classes are easier to modify or get the kids involved.  In LA, they give presentations with a switch, we can record their reading passage on a switch to read within their group, they can do a reading log at home, they can present poems with a switch.  In science, they can give lab directions to the group on a switch, advance slides of a powerpoint, participate in labs, etc.  
  • My students go to related arts classes with their peers.  In middle school, students have a class for a trimester (either PE, art, band, or choir).  My first year I had my students do a daily rotation of what related arts they went to, thinking it would give them a variety.  I found that their peers/teachers didn't consider them a real member of class because they were only present once a week, so now they stay with one class per trimester.
  • My students go to lunch and sit with their peers. 
  • During the periods I have my students in my room, I have typical peers come in to assist them or just hang out with them.  This has created some great peer-student relationships.  
  • Inclusion varies per student; for example I have one student with autism who does a pull-out math and LA class, but is in inclusion classes the rest of the day.
It is always a struggle of "is the student getting enough out of this class that it is worth it for them to be in it".  So how do you do inclusion?  


  1. Kristie
    great blog, I will be following with interest.
    We have a son similar to those kids you describe above but we have decided full inclusion is the only way. We have had our teething problems but the reality is part time or congregated segregated was never going to match our vision. We help the school out a lot but most of his goals can be met within every other lesson in the class. We don't support pull outs or therapy at school - which may or may not make things easier. We expect technology to be pursued with fervor (we help a lot there) and we let them know he has just as much right to be bored as the next kid if it is a boring lesson. We don't see the point in an adult doing something a peer could (eg lifting a switch into position etc). We also help the teacher understand she knows how to educate, to not get flummoxed by the disability, to remember she knows what to do from a pedagogy perspective. Once the 'a-ha' moment has been experienced then it gets easier...
    We blog the journey to help us reflect, ponder, improve and hopefully share our resources.

  2. Inkyed, thanks so much for your comments! It is great to hear a perspective of inclusion directly from a parent. Personally, I try to accommodate the preference of the families in my classroom. I have some parents who feel that full inclusion will benefit their student the most, and those students spend their entire day except study center in inclusion classes. I also have parents who feel that their student is working at such a far different level than typical peers, they need to be in a separate classroom working on mostly functional academics. Most of my students fall in the middle, but I definitely get to see both sides of it, and I see the benefits of each. Thanks for your thoughts-- I also checked out your blog and I'll have to keep up with it regularly!

  3. I am enjoying your blog and I'm glad to find another special ed blog. I am a retired special ed teacher but now an adjunct instructor on the university level so I like to share blogs that I find. Since I discuss inclusion a lot, I found this post extremely useful so thank you for writing about it. I hope in the future you might write about how you collaborate with the general ed teachers in order to meet the needs of your students. This has been an ongoing struggle with many that I talk to. I look forward to reading more so I've added you to my google reader!