To most who see a blog post title with the words “inclusive” and “discriminates” in it, will roll their eyes and move right on by. Well, please don’t because education ministers across Canada depend on that kind of apathy.
In reality, when parents of severely disabled children see those words, they understand completely. They see it as a type of “what is right” philosophy regarding classroom placement that is not based on the needs of their child.
The irony is that few would ever find fault with the notion that classrooms should reflect society, be it because of special needs, colour, race, culture or religion. They should — just not in a one-size fits all approach. One way around such inadvertent discrimination is to base classroom placement decisions on the psychological and educational assessed needs of students, not a policy, no matter how well-intentioned that policy may be.
The problem is that some children with severe disabilities, like those with a severe autism spectrum disorder (needing structure, quiet and calmness), should not be forced to fit, Procrustean style, such a policy. Which is why I am publicly supporting Harold Doherty and his son Conor. Harold will be on CBC’s Maritime Noon tomorrow. Here are the details from his own website:
“This Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 12 pm AT (1 ET) I will be a guest on the CBC Radio show Maritime Noon. I will be discussing and advocating for a flexible model of inclusive education. Marlene Munn will also be interviewed on behalf of the NBACL which promotes a full, and in my opinion, extreme model of regular classroom inclusion for all students. I am not sure if persons outside Canada can access the show on the CBC website but this is the link for Maritime Noon if you want to try and listen to the discussion at the CBC Maritime stations listed on the right side bar under “Air Times.”
I have written on this subject before — here and here — and wish Harold good luck in getting his alternative point of view across, that one approach to placement does not fit all students — and that to ignore even one is to discriminate.