Hello, and thank you everyone for this opportunity to voice my thoughts about the ideal of inclusion. I am happy to join you today. I hail from Syracuse, NY where I am a freshman in college. I have been fortunate to be included for my entire school career. The idea of school inclusion can be as a lousy or lovely happening. Teachers must be willing to not just give me desk and then leave me to fill the chair. I need to be asked questions, and given time for my thoughtful answers. Teachers need to become as a conductor, and guide me through the many places I may get lost. Being included has meant everything to me and I have been fortunate to have many thoughtful conductors.
Believing in Students
In order for inclusion to be a success teachers must hold the idea that students can achieve. It burns into my thoughts, how I am able today to be here to speak to you in my own voice. There were many people when I started this journey, who thought I would never be able to speak. I remember them smiling at me, seeming sincere, but behind the smile, I loudly heard the "CAN'T".
But then there were the lovely people who were thinking to remove that symbol in the word, "can't" and they helped me change it to "CAN". And I began to speak at age 12. It still may not be as fully complex as most, but with the "can" ideal, I am certain it will move forward still. One small grammar symbol, one enormous challenge, one strong success. Being included means that teachers will believe in my ability to succeed; they will presume my competence and believe that I CAN.
Thoughts on the Ideal School
In all things through growth, we sometimes become so objective that the opportunity to change what we believe to be only black or white; sometimes that mixture of the two to make gray, gives the impression that all or nothing must be done. When the decision to include children who have no outstanding difficulties with those who may have them, the ideal then is that all receive a...