Inclusive Mindset

What is #inclusion, what does it really mean? Inclusion is a way of thinking, being, living as a society that captures an all-embracing idea. The idea that all people learn, work and live on an equal ground with equal access.

When children face challenges of access to their education because of the impact of a #disability, that disability and it's challenges should not be met with "other ways" but rather met with adaptations to the "same way" education is offered for all. When a child with a disability learns beside their peers it fosters a societal culture of acceptance, understanding, respect and belonging. Creating an environment for this to happen from preschool through college, builds self esteem, relationships and a future that provide promise for something better.

Inclusion in the academic setting isn't just opening the doors of the building to students with disabilities, but rather it is a practice of teaching all students in the same classroom with supports and services coming into the classroom to meet the child where they are at. Where they are at academically as well as physically. This provides the full scope of learning with and from peers and fostering a learning environment that allows for all to be seen and treated with acceptance and respect. It further allows for the student to receive the same and equal access to the content and education that others are accessing throughout the day. Building in the greatest possibilities to learning in all ways on all days.

As an advocate who works with families daily to gain access to the education their student needs, I also understand that sometimes it is necessary to provide services outside the classrooms. If the #IEP team (including the parents and sometimes even the student) determines, based on the student's needs, that the best place to deliver services is in a different setting then that's where is should happen. However, it is always important to me that the time spent outside the classroom is limited, necessary for #AcademicProgress and does not occur during core subject times when instruction and peer learning is taking place. The student needs to be included in as much class time as possible and share peer interactions and reap the benefits of teacher instruction and incidental learning.

While most of this article speaks about inclusion more specifically in regards to #SpecialEducation and students facing disability challenges, it doesn't stop there. Inclusion reaches the far edge of all groups of people, whether race, creed, color, gender, age, etc. Inclusiveness is a way of being, a way of living. It impacts the work environment, higher education, leisure activities and everyday living. The human heart was meant to love and be loved. When we show love to all and consider them our brother or sister in all places, spaces and opportunities...we are living by example. We are putting inclusion and #acceptance out there in the world. Imagine how much more amazing and beautiful our world would be if we all lived an inclusive life, had a seat at the table, and never saw disability, age, creed, color, race or gender when we looked another in the eye. Raise consciousness, raise #awareness, raise your child with an #InclusiveMindset..and you will raise a better generation to carry us all forward.

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