Inclusion is part of a much larger picture then just placement in the regular class within school. It is being included in life and participating using one’s abilities in day to day activities as a member of the community. It is being a part of what everyone else is, and being welcomed and embraced as a member who belongs. Inclusion can occur in schools, churches, play- grounds, work and in recreation.
In school, inclusion does not occur by placement in the regular class alone, rather it is a desired end-state. It must be created with proper planning, preparation and supports. The goal of inclusion is achieved only when a child is participating in the activities of the class, as a member who belongs, with the supports and services they need. (from Kids Together )
Universal Design for Learning
The term UDL was coined over 30 years ago by the Center for Applied Special Technology. In its seminal book Teaching Every Student in the Digital Age (Rose, Meyers 2004), the authors embraced technology and its ability to reduce barriers, provide access to information and, when applied appropriately, access to learning. Over time CAST built upon its initial approach to UDL, with its focus on a medical model intended to address those “in the margins”, to one that focuses on learner variability with the goal of developing expert learners. Below is a summary of the UDL’s three principles and 9 related guidelines.
Provide options for self-regulation
Provide options for sustaining effort and persistence
Provide options for recruiting interest
Provide options for comprehension
Provide options for language, mathematical expressions, and symbols
Provide options for perception
Action and Expression:
Provide options for executive functions
Provide options for expression and communication
Provide options for physical action
Additional Resources for UDL:
UDL Theory and Practice (CAST - free online book)
UDL Guidelines (CAST)
Dive into UDL (companion website for book from ILN members Kendra Grant and Luis Perez)
Accessible Educational Materials and Technologies (AEM)
Accessible educational materials, or AEM, are print- and technology-based educational materials, including printed and electronic textbooks and related core materials that are designed or enhanced in a way that makes them usable across the widest range of learner variability, regardless of format (e.g. print, digital, graphic, audio, video).
Learn more about AEM from the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (the AEM Center).
Assistive Technology is defined as “any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is use to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.”
According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 1997 reauthorization)
ALL students, regardless of their abilities, must be given the opportunity to become involved with and progress in the general education curriculum. Every student must have access to what is being taught.
In order to support the inclusion and participation of students with disabilities in regular education classrooms, ALL Individual Education Programs (IEPs) developed for children identified as needed special education services MUST indicate that Assistive Technology has been considered.