Separate... and Definitely Not Equal...
Updated: May 12, 2022
When I first moved to Florida in 1998, there was still self-contained programming for students with physical disabilities.
1998. Let that sink in...
I worked in a school where there was a grade level class for children with physical disabilities for each elementary grade Kindergarten through fifth grade, and children from across the area went to school there.
If they had leg braces.
Or used a walker.
Or if they were in a wheelchair.
Except for Robert...
These children were "placed" in this setting simply because they had a physical disability.
The only additional support needed for most of these kiddos was support for transfers (chair to floor, chair to chair) or support for strength building.
Let's be real... both of these supports can happen ANYWHERE, right?
They were taught the same standards-based curriculum, using the same materials, and taking the same assessments, so again, their supports COULD have happened in the general education setting.
So what about Robert?
Robert's parents advocated for him, were very outspoken and insisted that Robert be part of his peer group in the general education setting.
Robert had no legs, and used a wheelchair. He also had some of the most powerful arms I've ever seen on an 8 year-old.
Robert needed supports at times for transfers and using the restroom. Totally doable.
He got it... all in the general education setting.
So bravo for Robert's parents for believing in Robert's abilities and ensuring that his school provided everything he needed in the general education classroom.
You know what else he got?
a large friend group
invitations to birthday parties
time to play outside with typical peers
Wouldn't you want that for your kiddo, too?
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