10 Reasons to Support Inclusive School Communities for ALL Students

3. A Sense of Belonging and Acceptance of Differences

Belonging is a human need for all people. However, the practice of sorting, tracking, and separating students is still institutionalized in much of public education. This is especially the case for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, in spite of IDEA’s legal presumption that an education in the general education classroom is preferable for all students. An education in more restrictive environments (less time with nondisabled peers) should only occur under the law if the student cannot be satisfactorily educated in the general education classroom even with supplementary aids and services. An inclusive approach to education challenges practices of separating students and their underlying assumptions. As educators become more successful implementing inclusive practices, fewer students are at risk for experiencing segregation and its potentially devastating effects on learning. By attending their local schools and being included in all aspects of general education life, students with disabilities are included in the communities where they live and can make friends and learn with other children. Inclusive education promotes a positive school and postschool climate for students of all abilities and backgrounds.

Article (including a Tool): Creating Communities of Belonging for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Article: Wide Open Spaces: Maggie's Story

Video: Known for My Strengths: Seeing Disability Through a Different Lens