The Big p in the inclusion program PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 24 January 2015 11:45

By TESS MOORE

 

Autism Society Philippines Zamboanga City Chapter celebrates Autism Conciousness Week on January 19-25, 2015. One of the activities  is a city-wide seminar entitled “Journeying Across the Autism Spectrum:Inclusion and the Special Children” which will be held at UP Academy San Jose Rd., Zamboanga City on January 25, 2015.

The  president of Autism Society Philippines Zamboanga City Chapter, Mrs. Agnes T. San Luis, enjoins Sped Teachers, Regular Education Teachers , Parents and family members of children with Autism to attend in the seminar.

Parent Involvement  is the key to  a successful  Inclusion program.

“ Student academic achievement is higher when parents are involved; in fact, the higher the level of parent involvement, the higher the level of student achievement.”( by Kathleen Whitbread, Ph.D )

Inclusive classrooms are places where all students can learn and thrive. The decision to place an exceptional child in an inclusive class is best made between parents, teachers and the school. Parents can involve and  support this process by educating themselves on the social, emotional and intellectual benefits of inclusive education. However, Parents should stay involved with their child’s education throughout the school year (through communication with teacher, volunteer work, and/or attendance at school events) to help ensure that their child is continuing to receive the best education possible.However, what  must parents do to make Inclusive Program a success?

Practical Tips for Parents as they prepare their children with Exceptional needs for Inclusion:

1. Know Your Child.

· Know your child’ s ability and disability.

· know your child’s strengths and talents.

· Know your child’s needs and extra needs ( e.g PECS for non-verbal pupils).

· Prioritize  the needs ( first thing first)

2. Communicate  with your child’s teachers.

· Call or make an appointment to introduce yourself to each of your

child’s teachers.

· Don’t forget the “special” teachers (art, music,  physical education, etc.) and related services staff (occupational  therapist, speech therapist, physical therapist, etc.).

· Find out from them how they think your child is doing at school, what their concerns are, and what help or resources they may need to do their job. Ask them to share their vision for your child for next year.

· Collaborate  to provide positive educational experiences (curriculum) for special needs children.

· General Education Curriculum describes an essential methodology required to make inclusion successful.

· It is not enough for students with disabilities to be physically included in general education classes; they must also be academically included.

· In order for academic inclusion to be  successful, individualized supports, accommodations and adaptations must be provided to students based upon their needs

· parents also need to become actively involved in the education of their children with exceptionalities.

· parents also need to become actively involved in the education process.  By  participating in the decisions and classroom placements of their child.

· Keep good records of all communication in connection with your child.

· Get into the habit of documenting each important conversation  but respect each teacher’s busy schedule. Don’t burden them with unnecessary contacts.

3. Collaboration with staff and administration is critical for successful Integration.

·  parents  must be open to listen  and accept new ideas and strategies being implemented by the  administration.

·  parents should   acknowledge that  they need help because many supports need to be put in place for a child with extra needs to be successful.

· Parents should understand that the classroom teacher cannot be successful alone.  He/She needs to draw strength  on the expertise of those around him/her.

4. Appropriate physical classroom environment  to accommodate and support learning for each child.

· Visit your child’s classroom as scheduled. Observe what’s going on with your child in school (but don’t   overstay . Respect the teacher’s space).

· Classroom set-up is the child’s third teacher (Gale Fernandez)

· make the colours in the room natural ones – browns, greens, etc.  This allows for a calming environment.

· bring nature in.  This connects children to the outside world.

· room as open as possible to see what is going on at all times (less cubicles)

· make comfort first – pillows, a couch, etc.

· classroom is organized in a way that will allow children to get and clean up materials easily – math things in one area, books in another, etc.

· There is a quiet and calm space for those children who may need a break from the busyness of the class.  Some children become overloaded with too much stimulation and need some time away.  Provide this not as a punishment but as part of helping children become successful.

5. Participate in local Parent  groups so you have a network of parents to rely on.

· Attend Parent gatherings and you will benefit from hearing about other parents’ experiences.

· Sped Advocacy:If   Parents advocate for their sons and daughters throughout their  schooling experiences, they will see them treated with respect and dignity while acquiring the skills necessary to be successful and building friendships with peers  and others.

· Be resourceful  to build  confidence and  strength to advocate for your child’s inclusion in their school and community, it will make an enormous difference in your child’s life.

· Parent’s belief system is significant in every achievement of an Exceptional Child.

· Having friends and being a friend are important roles for all Parents.

Parent Involvement will contribute to the development of a meaningful educational program for their sons and daughters.  The practical tips offer common sense approaches as to how parents  effectively advocate for inclusive education for children with exceptionalities.  —  Tess Moore is  SPED Specialist at Ferndale Internatioinal School