Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Grade one planning already - Benefits of Inclusion

Yesterday my husband and I met with our local school to plan for Ashley's 1st grade.  The school feels she will need a one on one aid next year and they would like to send her to a community class. We feel strongly that she is excelling and progressing here at home with her friends and brothers by her side.    I was very thankful  to have CTN supporting us at this meeting.  I'm also  extremely  thankful for the thousands of parents that fought for 30 years before Ashley was even born to ensure kids with special needs had rights  to attend their home school, be safe and not be excluded.  

Benefits of Ashley’s inclusion at Public School

Over the past two years while in  Junior Kindergarten and Senior Kindergarten  Ashley has blossomed in every way possible.  Ashley entered kindergarten unable to walk, talk or even eat. 

She is now walking unaided with her Kaye Walker, this would not have been possible if she didn’t get to practice multiple times a day here at school.

She is gaining a pound a month since last September and is now close to 30 pounds; 8 pounds more than when she began SK.  Eating with her peers has been extremely beneficial in her weight gain.   She is making nice progress on drinking with assistance too.  She very much enjoys lunchtime at school. 
Ashley always has many friends who want to sit at her table for lunch or snack.

She is now reaching and even pointing for her communication cards rather then using eye gaze.  This has opened up a whole new world to her.  She is hopefully moving to a dynamic voice shortly. 

Ashley has made progress on her IEP goals and has shown that she is able to identify, to her teacher, shapes, animals, some numbers and letters.  Her IEP goals have now been expanded.  She loves reading and is working very hard on literacy skills.  She is now able to grip a pencil to scribble and form lines.

Socially Ashley is able to attend school all day and is acting and behaving appropriately for her age.  She is welcomed and accepted by her peers.  Ashley often times can be seen surrounded by friends at  School and at the local park.  She is invited for play dates and attends their Birthday Parties.  She is truly accepted for who she is.  Her friends don’t see her limitations they see a little girl who smiles and enjoys their company and shares similar interests.

Ashley is patient, gentle with her peers, and enjoys exploring all the learning centers of her classroom.  
She is participating fully and successfully in the kindergarten program.  She demonstrates imaginative play at home and school.  She is also demonstrating to us more and more everyday that she is emulating her peers and brothers. 

We are very thankful to the school, staff and students for embracing our daughter and helping her to reach her potential. We feel Ashley will be successful in 1st grade next year right here with her brothers and peers by her side encouraging her on.

Mom and Dad

Ashley (pictured between her friends)
The benefits of inclusive education are numerous for both students with and without disabilities.
Benefits of Inclusion for students with disabilities
1. Friendships
2. Increased social initiations, relationships and networks
3. Peer role models for academic, social and behavior skills
4. Increased achievement of IEP goals
5. Greater access to general curriculum
6. Enhanced skill acquisition and generalization
7. Increased inclusion in future environments
8. Greater opportunities for interactions
9. Higher expectations
10.  Increased school staff collaboration
11.  Increased parent participation
12.  Families are more integrated into community

Benefits of Inclusion for Students Without Disabilities
1. Meaningful friendships
2. Increased appreciation and acceptance of individual differences
3. Increased understanding and acceptance of diversity
4. Respect for all people
5. Prepares all students for adult life in an inclusive society
6. Opportunities to master activities by practicing and teaching others
7. Greater academic outcomes
8. All students needs are better met, greater resources for everyone
There isn’t any research that shows any negative effects from inclusion done appropriately with the necessary support and services for students to actively participate and achieve IEP goals.

** Benefits of Inclusion was found here at Kids Together.inc  


Michelle said...

It is so awesome to read her progress and accomplishments. Way to go Ashley. What amazing parents you are!

Cary said...

Oh WOW...that's just amazing to read! She has truly blossomed!