We hear the word inclusion being used a lot, especially when we have children with additional needs. But what exactly is inclusion? The truth is that even many school staff and researchers are not sure what it is, or whether schools are managing to achieve it.
Odom et al (retrieved from world wide web, 12/12/2012) used a four point definition of inclusion:
- Active participation with peers: children with disabilities should actively participate with typically developing children in the same settings.
- Support to reach goals: services should be provided that support the child to achieve the goals set by the parents and a team of professionals.
- Many different professionals involved: This team should contain professionals from different disciplines all working together (e.g., teachers, speech and language therapists).
- Evaluation of the child’s progress: the inclusion program should be evaluated to determine the child’s progress toward goals (These were based on American public laws PL. 94-142, PL. 99-457, PL. 102-199).
We would add a fifth point to these four points:
- Good results: your child should have friendships, achieve their academic targets, be happy and feel like they ‘belong’ within school settings.