Inclusion is a philosophy and an educational approach that offers all students equal opportunities for academic and social accomplishments. Inclusive education highlights the importance of educational practices based on the philosophical belief that all learners (those with special needs and those without) have a right to be educated together.
"Inclusion" does not simply mean the placement of students with special needs in general education classes. This process brings about a fundamental change in the way a school community supports and addresses individual requirements. Inclusion programs provide educational services that offer the least restrictive environment for students to learn and grow. This program educates each student in the same school he/she would attend if no disability existed.
INCLUSION PROGRAM AT
The inclusion program at Stepping Stones Center offers a multidisciplinary treatment approach delivered by experts in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis, Special Education, Speech & Language Pathology and Occupational Therapy. A multidisciplinary team works on implementing behavioral strategies, adapting and implementing the general school’s curriculum, differentiating instruction, and targeting individual needs based on the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). All team members are licensed registered behavior technicians or otherwise licensed specialists (e.g. Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Behavior Analyst) and have received training in Applied Behavior Analysis and differentiating instruction.
ADVANTAGES OF THE
Helps build meaningful friendships
Increases social initiations, networks, and relationships
Helps in building social and behavioral skills, along with building peer role models for academics
Increases access to general curriculum
Enhances skill acquisition and generalization along with curriculum adaptations
Creates opportunities for interaction and social skill developments
Increases acceptance and appreciation of individual differences
Prepares all students for adult life in an inclusive society
Opportunities to master activities by practicing and teaching others
FEATURES OF AN
To ensure that every student receives access to education based on his/her current skill level, the curriculum is differentiated for different needs of the student within the classroom. The curriculum is adapted and based upon the skill level, age, and ability of each student.
Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy
The Speech & Language Therapist (SLT) and the Occupational Therapist work closely with the Inclusion Teacher in order to ensure progress levels for students working in pairs or individually. Progress is monitored and documented through regular meetings with the student, parents, and the Inclusion Teacher.
An IEP is written after 45 days from the student’s enrollment date in the school. After observing the students across all areas and subjects, the annual goals are set. IEP meetings are conducted once per term. In this meeting, academic goals and baselines (in addition to sections that focus on developmental areas of need which overlap with educational goals) are thoroughly reviewed. The meeting is based on the results and conclusions determined by various assessment methods.
Staff Responsible: Inclusion Teacher, Lead Class Assistant, Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist and Director of Special Education & Inclusion.
Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)
Depending on the objectives and goals set for each student, parent feedback, a classroom observation, and a behavior plan is designed for each student with behavioral problems and difficulties. The behavior plan is then shared with the mainstream teacher of the school, who will also follow the same behavioral methodologies in order to ensure consistency and generalization in behavioral modification.
Providing quiet, non-visually stimulating areas within the classroom allow children with special needs to concentrate better. Visual instructions featuring images, drawings, scientific objects, etc. are employed, particularly with younger children.
Students with special needs are taught in a regular education school alongside “neurotypical” developing peers, to learn and develop social skills. Children with special needs are included in activities such as field trips, games, etc. with typically developing peers, and are educated in regular school programs.