The Path to Inclusion
In any group of young people, you will find a range of physical, cognitive, social, and emotional skills and abilities. No two students have the same strengths and challenges. Classrooms in an inclusive school may have students with a wider range of skills and abilities than in traditional classrooms, but staff and students respect, support, and build on those diverse needs and strengths.
This benefits not just students with special needs; inclusive learning environments prepare all students for citizenship, employment, and further study where they will need the skills and understanding to interact and collaborate with diverse individuals and groups. By preventing young people from experiencing and participating in an inclusive environment, we fail to prepare them for the reality they will face outside of formal schooling.
By definition, a school taking a whole child approach to education is an inclusive school. A whole child approach requires a strong belief that each child can learn, develop, and be successful in a setting where the school and community ensure he or she is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. Our task is supporting and developing the diverse needs of each student.
Join us throughout August as we face the challenge of creating inclusive learning environments and explore research and practice that support our commitment and develop our skills to meet the unique needs of each student. Listen to the August Whole Child Podcast, featuring Timothy Shriver, chairman and CEO of Special Olympics; Latoya Dean, a doctoral student at the University of North Texas in the Leadership for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders program and a content mastery/helping teacher in Garland, Tex.; and Evan Heller, an incoming college freshman and member of the national Special Olympics Youth Activation Committee and his local Massachusetts State Youth Activation Committee. Read the Whole Child Blog to hear from guest bloggers, and dive deeper into the latest research, reports, and tools on the special needs topic page.
Have you signed up to receive the Whole Child Newsletter? Read this month’s newsletter and visit the archive for more strategies, resources, and tools you can use to help ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.