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>I once taught in a highschool that 'specialized' in total inclusion for deaf
>students. Not having any experience with handicap students, I was
>nervous when they started the program, and my art class was the first
>were easing the kids into. I spoke to my art students weeks before in
>with my personal philosophy of total inclusion. That is to say I believe
>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
>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
>thing in common, and that is a MOTOR that works, and the DRIVE to explore the
>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,
>are denied the opportunity.
>To make a long story short, my first entree was multiply handicapped plus
>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
>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
>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
>"look". She immediately fainted and literally slid off her wheelchair. I
>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
>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
>imagine how the question must lie in the hearts of these children's parents.