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Inclusive Education: How Far Have We Come?

1975 seems like a very long time ago. I was only seven years old.

1975 was the year children with disabilities came to my elementary school for the first time. They came from a local state-run institution (in the process of closing) and arrived at my school on the “short bus”. While I had a chance to play and interact with them on the playground, that was the only opportunity. They remained in their classroom and did not join us in the cafetorium or the library. We never saw them in the hallway.

They were not part of our community.

I firmly believe that it was in 1975 when I was seven that my passion for ensuring equity for kids with disabilities really started. It was then that the seed was planted.

My educational journey has had many twists and turns from the time I was seven years old to my current “middle age”. I have been a student, an intern, an undergraduate student, a graduate student, a teacher, a trainer, and a coach. I have never lost sight of the desire to help kids with disabilities be the best that they can be. My greatest passion these days is ensuring that kids with disabilities have the most inclusive experience possible in school.

In the last five years, I have witnessed some similarities between 1975 and 2023. Social and educational isolation. Exclusion from the lunchroom and field trips. Separate PE and recess times. Separate settings and classrooms for instruction. Barriers. Lack. And even the “short bus”.

Friends, this is a forty-eight year span.

Granted, there are many situations across the nation where education for kids with disabilities is very inclusive. IEP teams work collaboratively for the best interests of every child. Teachers are trained. Communities “feel” inclusive and rich in acceptance and belonging. Parents feel supported.

But what if you are not lucky enough to live in one of these beautifully inclusive communities? What then?

Parents, as your child's first teacher, you know your child the best. You sit at the IEP table with the knowledge that you need to ensure that your child has the best, most inclusive educational experience possible. KNOW WHAT IS POSSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILD. Never ever settle for less.

For help with understanding what's TRULY POSSIBLE for your child, Inclusiveology offers FREE consultations with strategies and support to get you started. CLICK HERE to meet with us!

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