Sometimes a word is so overused that it loses its meaning. The term inclusion has become such a catchword that people sometimes use it without knowing what it means.
The idea of inclusion as part of education is nothing new. People have been struggling for decades to find the ideal balance between providing special services for students who need them and creating an environment where those students participate as fully as other children.
As important as inclusion is, the definition matters less than making sure all children are active participants in their world. This doesn’t mean creating a special place for those who are different or assuming that every child who uses a wheelchair always wants to be with other children who use a wheelchair.
If the term “included” becomes just a label to distinguish those students who are different, it’s not inclusion; it’s just another label.
As one parent of a young man with a disability says, “Inclusion is not a pretty word for special education.” It’s not about a particular type of program, and it’s not based on others’ misconceptions. “Inclusion is the process that moves a person towards a full, meaningful, productive, community life, where their rights as equal human beings and citizens are honoured.”
These ideas are discussed in a blog post on Beyond the Crayon. To read the full post, you can click here.