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I spent some time today reading some old emails I wrote in 1998 about "inclusion vs. other educational placement options" for children with disabilities. This was on the Our-Kids discussion group, and most of the others in the discussions were parents of children with various disabilities. I found myself wondering how differently some of them might respond now that six years have passed and perhaps the gap between their children's needs and the activities of the nondisabled students has widened. Some of the parents were just completely opposed to any pull-out services, special classrooms, etc. Their premise was that people have to learn to live and work side by side and it should start in school. I fully support the right to be educated in the local school alongside peers and to participate in the same activities with or without adaptations; but I have a real problem with "inclusion" just for the principle of the thing. Besides learning to live and work together, school is also about learning the skills that are needed for adult life. If a child is sitting watching nondisabled peers dissect a frog instead of learning a crucial skill like how to handle money and shop for groceries, what real good is school to that child? Yes, home living skills should be taught at home. But do you know how many parents I've heard say, "I don't know how to teach this to my child with disabilities?" How then will the child learn the skills?

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3kitties
3kitties
Sarah Blake LaRose
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