It is that time of year when the back-to-school buzz is everywhere. There is excitement about the possibilities that lie ahead: new friends, classes, and activities. For our family it also represents hard-won success. It is a time of anxiety and second thoughts.
Professionals have often said that our daughter will not succeed in the general education setting because of her physical, cognitive, and medical labels. But research shows that students with disability labels (and their peers) do better academically and socially when included.
Since decisions made today impact her future, we chose the road less traveled: inclusive education! As a family, we’ve focused on abilities and have created a vision for our daughter’s life in the community – now and in the future.
As members of the educational team, we ask you to set aside any ideas you may have about why inclusion won’t work. Instead, please focus your energy on strengths, creativity, and possibilities. If you are an administrator, we ask that you support those working directly with our daughter. We believe everyone can succeed with the right supports.
We ask that the following values be embraced. These values will enhance the school experience for all students, with or without a disability label.
A student’s educational experience should not be separated by “special” or “general.” The day we honor and act upon this truth is the day that all students will feel welcomed and their educational experience will be more meaningful.