Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Small Story of Inclusion

My daughter has Severe Autism, Rett Syndrome. She can't speak, use her hands, eats by g-tube, has seizures and many other complex needs.

I hear a lot about how kids like her are not included in activities in school so I'd like to share a little story of inclusion.

Kate is in a multiple needs classroom. Throughout the day she integrates into 1st grade and K. She likes K because it still has a lot of music and flexible creative times. 1st grade she enjoys for the circles.

Today the 1st grade had an end of year play with 5 skits. How would they include Kate who is in a wheelchair, nonverbal and can't move well? The teacher did not even have to include Kate since she is only in her class part of the day. But both teachers, the K for a graduation ceremony, and 1st grade for the play, really stepped up.

Kate's job was to introduce each of the plays. Beforehand the lines were put onto a step by step communication switch for her to push when it was her turn to speak. A talking switch is a big button that hold a recordable message or multiple messages in a row.
The messages were recorded in a child voice.

When it came time for Kate's part her one to one moved her into place and put the switch in front of her. She was able to hit the button and would receive applause. The audience could see how much work it was for her to get her hands up and then back down to hit the button. She fit right into the play with no problems.

During the last two skits Kate fell asleep. She was up the entire night before since she had her schedule mixed up. Since the teacher had set it up that she was to introduce the play her one to one hit the button. (she would have fit right in to Sleeping Beauty skit if they had one).

This is just one small example of integration. If they can include a nonverbal, wheelchair, sleeping child into a play...then other activities should be a easy.

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