What is Inclusion?
Inclusion is a term which expresses a commitment to educate each child, to the maximum extent appropriate, in the school and classroom he or she would otherwise attend. It involves bringing the support services to the child, (rather than moving the child to the services) and it requires only that the child will benefit from being in the class, as opposed to requiring that the child must keep up with the other children.
What is Inclusive Education?
Inclusive education means that all students in a school, regardless of their strengths or weaknesses, become part of the school community. They are included in the feeling of belonging among other students, teachers, and families. The federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and its 1997 amendments, make it clear that all schools have a duty to educate children with disabilities in general education classrooms. Inclusion dictates that children, all children, should be educated in the “least restrictive” environment. In a typical classroom setting, supports must be in place to ensure that the child with special needs is able to participate in every way possible.
Some people, child care providers as well as parents, are apprehensive regarding the placement of a child with special needs in a classroom of typically developing children. It is the lack of exposure to children with disabilities that creates the fear. When typically developing children are placed in classrooms alongside children with special needs, acceptance occurs. Peer support and encouragement happens quickly in an accepting environment.
The Catawba County United Way has a joint program with the Catawba County Partnership For Children which provides a financial incentive for child care centers, and family child care homes, to enroll children with special needs. There is also a monthly stipend for the family to help cover the cost of child care. (Certain conditions apply for both the center and the family applicants) Through this program, child care staff can be trained in the area of special needs, thereby reducing any apprehension they might feel towards the placement of a child with a special need. For more information on this program, please contact us at 828-695-6565.