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Lesson Plans


Re: Total Inclusion

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
kprs (KPRS)
Sat, 30 Oct 1999 06:32:21 -0400


I once taught in a highschool that 'specialized' in total inclusion for deaf
students. Not having any experience with handicap students, I was understandably
nervous when they started the program, and my art class was the first class they
were easing the kids into. I spoke to my art students weeks before in preparation
with my personal philosophy of total inclusion. That is to say I believe that all
of us are cars. Some of us come off the assembly line as sleek Porshes, others
of us are Jeeps, some of us are old Volkswagen beetles with mileage. When we
roll off the assembly line, we have NO choice which model we are, NO choice which
color we are, and NO choice of condition. Some of us have been damaged in the
making, some of us have smashed into the car in front of us. All of us have one
thing in common, and that is a MOTOR that works, and the DRIVE to explore the
road ahead.

Handicap kids have a MOTOR (Brain, feelings, soul,)that works, and want to be
included. How sad it must be to see others around you experience life, while you
are denied the opportunity.

To make a long story short, my first entree was multiply handicapped plus deaf,.
whose language skills were practically non existent. I didn't sleep the night
before she came to my class, I was so nervous. I didn't want to insult her, I
wanted to make her feel comfortable, I wanted to be able to modify my lessons for
her without patronizing her, and I wanted her to feel ownership to her work. I
also wanted to know how I was going to communicate with her when no one gave me
lessons on how to do that. When she was wheeled into the room, Jill looked
terrible. I had never met the girl, so I didn't know that that wasn't her usual
"look". She immediately fainted and literally slid off her wheelchair. I thought
I had killed her! Well, turns out, she had the flu, but was so damn excited to
come to school, she braved how crappy she felt to make it to school! Over the
year, Jill cut class, cursed me out, made art, laughed, had moods, well, I think
you get the point, she was just one of the kids. She made friends, she made
enemies, she listened to rock and roll..she had bad hair days....

Who are we to deny her this? (especially in the face of her short life
expectancy?) I ask this question as a woman who can't have children, I can't even
imagine how the question must lie in the hearts of these children's parents.

San D

PurpleArt wrote:

> May I ask what your collective opinions are regarding total inclusion with
> students who are severely disabled both physically and mentally and are so
> medically fragile that they rely on a nurse and a full time Education
> Assistant to just survive the day in a public school setting? I have
> experienced students who suffer frequent grand mal seizures and others who
> often choked on their own saliva. We have no way of knowing what, if any,
> benefit-educationally or otherwise-these kids derive from sitting in a wheel
> chair, or lying on a slanted table in a public school classroom all day long.
> At the moment, our school district in it's infinte wisdom is suing a parent
> for the truancy of her multiply, severely disabled daughter. The mother
> insists that public school is not the least restrictive, most beneficial
> placement for her daughter so has kept her home for the past few months while
> the school hounds her to send the girl to school on the bus. Where does
> common sense prevail?