What we mean by “inclusion”?
• The included child is one who exists within his/her natural environment, participates in and interacts with the elements of this environment that caters for his/her basic needs and corresponds to his/her optimal capacities.
• Inclusion is a process that reaches out to all children and requires a continuously developing environment that would meet their additional needs and match their capacities.
• The inclusion of children revolves around three main axes that are intertwined, deep-rooted and indissoluble within the society – the family, the school and the local community.
• The participation of the included child begins at birth within the family and the local community, and at three years within scholastic enrolment.
Why we use the expression «additional needs»?
The child’s basic needs are vital for the insurance of the natural growth of every child across the globe.
Children’s needs are the elements, the circumstances, the regular or variable means necessary, whether instantly or permanently, for every child to fulfill himself/herself and to achieve his/her full potential.
Children with additional needs share the same feelings and desires as all other children. However, they also have different additional needs in comparison with other children.
A Philosophy. It is a belief in every person's inherent right to participate fully in society. Inclusion implies acceptance of differences. It means making room for a person who would otherwise be excluded. Translating this philosophy into reality is a process that requires collaboration, teamwork, flexibility, a willingness to take risks, and support from a whole array of individuals, services and institutions.
A Practice. It is the educational process by which all students, including those with additional needs, are educated together, with sufficient support, in age-appropriate, regular education programs in their neighborhood schools. The goal of inclusive education is to prepare all students for productive lives as full, participating members of their communities.
Evolving. As people learn more about inclusion, they understand that "full inclusion" means that students with additional needs are part of the regular education system – even if their curricular goals and needs differ from those of their classmates.
Rewarding for all people involved. When inclusion is carried out appropriately, research has demonstrated benefits to students with additional needs as well as to their peers. Friendships develop, students without additional needs learn to appreciate differences and students with additional needs are more motivated. All of this is carried to the home and into the community.
INCLUSION IS NOT...
A Passing Fad. Numerous conventions and laws have affirmed the right of students with additional needs to attend regular classes full time when the educational benefits for the student warrant such a placement. Inclusion, with its focus on outcomes is the trend for the future.
Dumping. It does not mean that a child with additional needs is placed in a classroom without adequate support and appropriate services. It does not mean that undue burdens are placed on teachers and peers. Thoughtful planning, continual monitoring and sufficient support are all part of successful inclusion programs.
Easy. Parents, educators, peers and administrators are all partners in the inclusion process and must work together to make it successful. Ongoing problem solving is involved.
Mainstreaming. Inclusion is more than mainstreaming. Mainstreaming implies that a child from a special education class visits the regular class for specific, usually nonacademic, subjects. Inclusion means that a student with additional needs is part of the regular class, even if he or she receives occasional services in another setting.
Everyone Benefits from Inclusive Education!
Children with Disabilities:
• They are spared the effects of separate, segregated education-including the negative effects of labeling and negative attitudes fostered by lack of contact with typically developing children.
• They are provided with competent models that allow them to learn new adaptive skills and/or learn when and how to use their existing skills through imitation.
• They are provided with competent peers with whom to interact and thereby learn new social and/or communicative skills.
• They are provided with realistic life experiences that prepare them to live in the community.
• They are provided with opportunities to develop friendships with typically developing peers.
Children Without Disabilities:
• They are provided with opportunities to learn more realistic and accurate views about individuals with disabilities.
• They are provided with opportunities to develop positive attitudes toward others who are different from themselves.
• They are provided with opportunities to learn altruistic behaviors and when and how to use such behaviors.
• They are provided with models of individuals who successfully achieve despite challenges.
• They can conserve their early childhood resources by limiting the need for segregated, specialized programs.
• They can conserve educational resources if children with disabilities who are mainstreamed at the preschool level continue in regular as compared to special education placements during the elementary school years.
Families of Children with Disabilities:
• They are able to learn about typical development.
• They may feel less isolated from the remainder of their communities.
• They may develop relationships with families of typically developing
children who can provide them with meaningful support.
Families of Children Without Disabilities:
• They may develop relationships with families who have children with disabilities and thereby make a contribution to them and their communities.
• They will have opportunities to teach their children about individual differences and about accepting individuals who are different.
Wolery, M. and Wilbers, J. (Eds). (1994). Including children with special needs in early childhood programs. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.
International Statements, Declarations and Rules on Inclusive Education:
The Convention of the Rights of Child (1989) outlines the rights of all children.
Some of the most important are:
- The right not to be discriminated against (art.2)
- The right to live within his or her family and the right of a child with disabilities to have special care (art.9)
- The right to education and training to help him or her achieve the greatest degree of self-reliance and social integration possible (art.23)
According to the Convention education shall aim at developing the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to the fullest extent. This means that education shall prepare the child for an active adult life in a free society and foster respect for child’s parents, his or her cultural identity, language and values and for the cultural background and values of others
World Declaration on Education for All (Jomtien, 1990)
Provide equal access to education to every category of disabled persons as an integral part of the education system…. (art. 3.5)
UNESCO Salamanca Statement and Framework for action (1994)
«We call upon all governments to urge them to adopt as a matter of laws or policy the principle of inclusive education.Those children with special education needs must have access to regular schools. Regular schools with this inclusive orientation are the most effective means of combating discriminatory attitudes, creating welcoming communities, building an inclusive society, and achieving education for all. The most pervasive source of learning difficulties is the school system itself.»