As I mentioned yesterday, I am a mentor for our Council for Exceptional Children organization and mentor a college student who is getting a degree in Special Education. My mentee mentioned a situation where a child was removed from an inclusion classroom but she didn’t think the parent had a clue about what inclusion was.
I know we explained this to the parent at an IEP meeting but I feel that the parents are so overwhelmed with information during these meetings that they really don’t understand the concept of Inclusion. At the beginning of the year, I think all of the parents of students in an inclusion classroom should be invited to a presentation that explains what inclusion is. Granted, some parents might not come but at least the opportunity is offered. Handouts can be sent to the parents who were unable to attend the meeting. This meeting should be well advertised in case some parents from other classes are interested in learning about inclusion also.
Every school handles inclusion differently so I can’t tell you how to explain your school’s inclusion program to the parents. I can suggest what I believe should be included in the presentation.
1. Explain that this presentation is an overview about the Inclusion program and not about individual students.
2. Offer to set up an appointment to talk about individual student’s needs.
3. Information about your school’s inclusion program and why your school feels it is important.
4. Discuss how inclusion meets student’s needs in the classroom.
5. Explain how everyone benefits and that general ed students are not held back. Give specific examples.
6. Have the teachers involved explain their planning process for lessons.
7. If possible, have parents of students already in the program speak about how it has benefit their child.
8. Allow parents to ask questions. If you don’t have the answers, admit this and offer to find the answers for them. Don’t try to bluff the parents because they can sense this.
Did I leave out anything? Feel free to give suggestions about what else should be included in a presentation for parents. I truly believe that communication is vital for any program to be successful.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).