Learning Together

Here’s an interesting statistic.  And it comes straight from Ontario’s Ministry of Education.  At least 85% of students with intellectual disabilities spend part, or all, of their day in segregated classrooms and travelling on segregated buses.  That’s particularly interesting as another Ministry - Community and Social Services – announces the end of sheltered workshops in the next five years.  One ministry is starting to walk the talk about community and inclusion, the other not quite as much. So why is that?
According to Jacqueline Specht, educators still believe that the learning environment suffers when kids with intellectual or developmental disabilities are part of a regular classroom.  She disputes that and she should know because she is the Western University-based director of the Canadian Research Centre on Inclusive Education.  School isn’t just about marks. It’s about social development too.  As she puts it, it gives kids a valuable social experience and a chance to learn more than just life skills like how to take the bus or make a sandwich.
Dr. Specht’s solution?  Courageous government leaders to lead the charge in changing attitudes and outlooks.  “All the research says we should go with full inclusion.”   Pretty provocative stuff!

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