January 27, 2015

Maura  Photo Credit: Phoebe Holmes
Photo Credit: Phoebe Holmes

This morning, yet another article about the wonders of inclusion for special ed students popped up in my social media. It was about myths and misunderstandings about inclusion, dispelling those ideas of how inclusion is interruptive to the other students or costs more, or how it shouldn’t be seen as a fad.

All in all, it was a good article. Yet once again, I realized that the choice we made for Maura is not the popular one.

When we lived in Michigan and Maura was about to start kindergarten, we were told inclusion was the only choice. There was no other place suitable for her. The district’s special school was for those with severe physical and mental disabilities. We were actually told to be thankful Maura didn’t qualify for the special school. And yet, the local school was unprepared for a student with Maura’s many needs. Highly unprepared. And yet, it was our only choice.

This is something those who sing the praises of inclusion don’t always witness first hand – a child with moderate disabilities going to a school that isn’t ready for such a challenge. But neither party has a choice in it. Inclusion will happen.

While we were uncertain of how inclusion would work for Maura, everyone told us how inclusion was the best option. As we didn’t have much of a choice in the matter, we went ahead with it. And it seemed to work. Maura had many lovely wonderful staff people working with her, and school went as smooth as it could while behind the scenes, we fought with the administration for silly things like proper medical plans and seizure training for the staff.

Her second year in inclusion, I began seeing trouble with it.

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