One of the big myths about inclusion is that if a child with special needs is in the classroom, the teacher will spend SO much time focusing on that child's needs and keeping that child up to speed that the rest of the class will suffer. Research has shown that this is simply not true. In fact, the other students have benefited by having children with special needs in the classroom. They learn to work better in groups, they learn to adapt better, be more accepting of all people, be more patient and at the end of the year they tend to actually come out ahead of the game in all areas of development.
One teacher mentioned in the book above, talked about keeping a stack of index cards on her desk, each card contained a child's name. Every morning she would flip to a new card and that day that child would get special treatment. This would look different for each child depending on his or her needs. For example, it might be spending a few extra minutes to socialize with him, or it might be taking extra time to examine her written work. She might give the student a valued job for the day or she may even call home to share some words of praise with the student's parents. Each student is different and each student will have different needs from that teacher to help them shine. The best part is that this is all done without the student's knowledge, so they never know when it's their "turn"... they just know that their teacher DOES care about them and this technique is a good reminder that inclusion is NOT about supporting the needs of some, it's about recognizing the uniqueness in everyone.
If you are an educator, would you consider using a strategy like the one adopted by this teacher?
As a parent, do you think what this teacher did is a good idea? Why or why not?
Are there any similar things that you see your child's teacher doing that encourages inclusion and recognizes the uniqueness of all students in the class, not just those students with special needs?
If you are a parent of a typical child who has a child or children with special needs in your child's classroom, do you feel the children with special needs get more attention? If so, do you feel that it takes away from your child's education?