Working with Educators

An important purpose of inclusion is to allow students of differing abilities to become comfortable interacting with one another. However, schools and teachers may differ greatly in how they interpret inclusion and in how much initiative they take in ensuring it happens. Indeed, sometimes parents are so frustrated by the lack of true inclusion in integrated classrooms that they prefer the old segregated system.

Classroom teachers need practical help (resource staff, educational assistants) to include students with disabilities. They may also need to become convinced of the viability and benefits of inclusion. Your involvement as family can make a great difference here. Try to establish good communication and a mutually supportive relationship with educators, bearing in mind that they will have other students to be concerned about.

Teachers Can Foster Inclusion

Lauchie Mackinnon, Jonathan’s teacher, reflects with Jonathan’s mother on the positive and not so positive experiences that teachers can provide.

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Advocating for Inclusion

“The best place for kids to learn social skills and how to be part of a community is in their school community. When we allow our kids to be separated, we teach them to live in the world separately. School is the major social arena for all kids. Advocate for your kids to take full advantage of this! At the same time, typically developing kids will learn that we all belong together, which will set the stage for better acceptance in post-secondary, places of employment, etc.”


What might have been…

“My son could have learned more about how to be a friend if the school had addressed this directly as part of his program. He was in an integrated class supposedly, but the other kids didn’t relate to him and he didn’t relate to them. He left school not knowing even what friends might say to each other or how to invite a schoolmate to do something with him. They could have modelled how kids relate and done role plays with the kids who had special needs. They could have practised what to talk about and how the other kids talk to each other.”

Parent, ON

When Students are Trusted

I have put two individuals with an intellectual disability in charge of the “café rencontre.” They prepare the coffee, invite people, plan the games or discussions. When they are trusted, it is surprising how successful they can be. They may need help at the beginning but we use the three 3 key steps for moving toward success: Do for, Do with, Allow to do.


What to Look for in Schools that Practice Inclusion
What to Look for in Schools that Practice Inclusion (253.66KB, PDF)

This Nova Scotia Department of Education list may be helpful in assessing the way inclusion is being implemented a school.

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