Inclusion is part of a much larger picture then just placement in the regular class within school. It is being included in life and participating using one’s abilities in day to day activities as a member of the community. It is being a part of what everyone else is, and being welcomed and embraced as a member who belongs. Inclusion can occur in schools, churches, play- grounds, work and in recreation.
In school, inclusion does not occur by placement in the regular class alone, rather it is a desired end-state. It must be created with proper planning, preparation and supports. The goal of inclusion is achieved only when a child is participating in the activities of the class, as a member who belongs, with the supports and services they need. (from Kids Together )
Universal Design for Learning
The term UDL was coined over 30 years ago by the Center for Applied Special Technology. In its seminal book Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age (Rose, Meyers 2004), the authors embraced technology and its ability to reduce barriers, provide access to information and, when applied appropriately, access to learning. Over time CAST built upon its initial approach to UDL, with its focus on a medical model intended to address those “in the margins”, to one that focuses on learner variability with the goal of developing expert learners. Below is a summary of the UDL’s three principles and 9 related guidelines.
- Provide options for self-regulation
- Provide options for sustaining effort and persistence
- Provide options for recruiting interest
- Provide options for comprehension
- Provide options for language, mathematical expressions, and symbols
- Provide options for perception
Action and Expression:
- Provide options for executive functions
- Provide options for expression and communication
- Provide options for physical action
Assistive Technology Device:
“Any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is use to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.”
Low-tech Pencil grip -> Mid-tech communication device -> High-tech eyegaze control of computer
According to IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act – (1997 reauthorization)
ALL students, regardless of their abilities, must be given the opportunity to become involved with and progress in the general education curriculum. Every student must have access to what is being taught.
In order to support the inclusion and participation of students with disabilities in regular education classrooms, ALL Individual Education Programs (IEPs) developed for children identified as needed special education services MUST indicate that Assistive Technology has been considered.