How many times have you heard educators say, "I'm not sure how to educate those students?" When those students have physical disabilities or any disability that interferes with the learning process, IDEA states that students with disabilities will be educated in mainstream classrooms.
Tips to Maximize Inclusion for Students with Physical Disabilities
The legislative action of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act) 2004 mandates that students with disabilities who meet eligibility requirements must be educated in the least restrictive learning environment (LRE). When educators are committed to the inclusion of students with disabilities in mainstream classrooms, the spirit and mandates of IDEA and IEPs become natural extensions of inclusive curriculum design and instructional implementation. Additional instructional modifications and accommodations that support an inclusive learning environment for students with disabilities become the norm and not the legal directive.
Tips of Inclusions: Asking the Right Questions
- Ask teachers and resource staff members who actively work with students with disabilities about their commitment and passion in teaching students with learning deficiencies and differences. Within the conversation, ask them to show you lesson plans that include modifications and accommodations for students with IEPs designating curriculum modification. Ask teachers how students with disabilities are accommodated in their classroom and ask specifically how students with physical disabilities are geared for success in the classroom.
- Ask teachers how much of their prep time is spent creating lesson modifications for students with disabilities. Ask to see their monthly lesson handbook and see how many lessons have been created with modifications in their instructional implementation.
- Show up at your child's school and visit his/her classroom to see how engaged your student is in the learning process. Check to see how much teacher and resource staff input your child receives during a typical class period. See how engaged your student is in the learning process. If your child appears confused or is not actively participating during the class, start asking questions and don't stop until change occurs and your child's learning needs are actively being addressed.
- Check with your student's IEP team and ask for inclusion amendments to the original plan if additional resources are needed to enhance the learning experience for your student's disability.
- Make sure that your child's classroom is inclusive and not excluding of the educational needs of students with disabilities.
When students with physical disabilities are actively engage in the learning process with the proper instructional inclusions, learning occurs along with educational access and success.