Thursday, May 8, 2008

Inclusion vs Special Day Classes

Today Frank Buckley, the Chief Executive Officer of the Down Syndrome Educational Trust and Sue Buckley’s son came to our monthly meeting for our learning program at the Down Sydrome Association of Orange County. He was there because they are starting a new program (or corporation) in the United States that will help bring some of the teaching methods here. It is really quite interesting- things like training aides (because you don't have to have any formal training in most areas), the see and learn program, etc. He told us they are going to hold a conference here in 2009 with Sue Buckley and specialist from around the world.

So, here's the interesting fact he shared with us about inclusion. He said that the number of kids with ds included in the United Kingdom is 80%. Guess how many kids are included in the US???? Only 7%!! Wow, what a difference. No wonder so many districts have such a hard time with inclusion. Although it is the law, or our right, to include first- it is a realitively new thing and they don't have that much experience with it. I know this is a touchy subject for some- so let me say right now.... I respect anyone's decision either way. You know your kid the best and you know what kind of class setting is best for them. I would like to have Sadie included- but that will be determined by her and her needs. Right now we are in a SDC for preschool and I couldn't be happier with the program or the teacher!

But, they did a study on kids who were from two different areas- one that offered SDC's (in a separate school) and one that offered inclusion. So the study didn't have variables like that kids that are a little more high functioning, etc. that typically fight for inclusion. He said that the kids who were included were 2-3 grades adhead of the SDC classes. Once again... no judgements- just interesting. He did say one thing, since we have the option- what would it hurt to try inclusion? It is easier to start with inclusion and change to SDC. If you start with SDC it is like swimming upstream. It is like changing their whole world and teaching environment.

1 comment:

Bethany said...

We have had Sue here several times to speak to our local group. Great post -- I agree that we should start with inclusion and work our way down if we have to. I have heard a lot that starting with life skills or self-contained and trying to work your way up --- impossible. Ugh. Why does it have to be so hard?! We also have The Learning Program here ... they are in pilot right now and I think Payton will be old enough to start this next round. :)