Inclusive Education Resources
Ontario students ask: How is it possible to spend four years in the same school and at Commencement not know everyone in your graduating class? Where have my fellow students been?
Through the efforts of the Community Inclusion Initiative in Ontario people who have disabilities, their families, and youth are gathering, asking questions and looking for change. Our schools are a mirror of our communities, and need to be rich and robust places of opportunity where people learn together.
In addition to quality education being a right for all students, it is also the cornerstone of a person’s citizenship. The typical school experience is pivotal in shaping opportunity for employment, ones relationships, contributions to community and a vision for the future. The Community Inclusion Initiative in Ontario has created opportunities for emerging youth leaders to connect through a dynamic youth leadership series. Together these students are creating awareness, challenging myths and shifting the culture of their schools to a welcoming place that celebrates diversity. These groups of highly energized high school students believe; they need to know one another more, to spend time together, to study together and take responsibility for one another. “We probably don’t have all the answers, but we want to be able to try, and being kept apart from one another denies us that chance!”
It is with this influence that Canadians who have a disability are more likely to be supported by their peers to participate fully in all aspects of their school and broader communities. The Youth Leadership series is A Call to Action, and the invitation is being taken up with enthusiasm and continues to build momentum for change. Inclusion is not simply a disability issue, but rather a social justice issue for all citizens. Ontario students are now asking one simple, yet powerful question; “If you believe that youth are a key ingredient to making our communities welcoming places. What are you prepared to do to help us? ”
Manitoba Looks Ahead
Community Living Manitoba in Partnership with Manitoba Council for Exceptional Children held an special meeting in Winnipeg last month during Inclusive Education Month 2011. Excerpts of the discussion – by CLM Advocate Anne Kresta:
A number of concerned parents, teachers, administrators and disability advocates came out on a cold and frosty evening in February to discuss progress and challenges in inclusive education in Manitoba. Together we heard from Manitoba Education, Manitoba Council for Exceptional Children and Community Living Manitoba and then brainstormed what we all saw were some next steps in moving the inclusive education agenda forward over the next 5 to 10 years. Here are the results of that discussion:
Priority Area 1: Supporting Teachers
Training in appropriate use of support strategies (ie; communication books - what should be included, what should not be included); Co-teaching and teacher mentoring - this is especially necessary as there will be larger numbers of teachers leaving the system as they enter retirement. There is a need for succession planning. Training in Universal Design for Learning so that all students benefit from being in the inclusive classroom
Priority Area 2: Supporting Families
Parents report needing to have some kind of baseline training in how the system will work to support their child. Advocacy work is at time exhausting and they need to know who to turn to and how to work effectively within the system. Parents report sometimes needing someone to turn to who has “clout” within the system. Universal report cards may provide a more inclusive and meaningful way to report on a student’s progress in the curriculum and within their IEP goals as they apply to the curriculum. Parents report having experienced delay tactics, personality conflicts, misinterpretation of policies and practice and need to have someone to speak with and for them in these circumstances.
Priority Area 3: Inter-sectoral Dialogue
Inter-sectoral meetings that discuss how students are being supported or can be supported by different programs and services that are available through Health, Justice, Family Services and Consumer Affairs and Education - helping students and parents with the service navigation piece. – parents reported that this communication has been a challenge for students with complex medical needs who rely on a nurse and cannot attend school without a specific nurse because there is no “Plan B” in place when the nurse is away ill or on holidays.
Priority Area 4: Knowledge Sharing
It is important to share innovative practices from various school divisions among themselves and then among their staff. If schools could schedule common PD Days that allow many more teachers and practitioners to get together to share experiences, strategies etc.
The use of “Inclusion Blogs” or webinars was discussed.
As a result of this session, a letter was composed and sent to Ministers of Education, Family Services and Consumer Affairs, Justice, Health and Healthy Living, Youth and Seniors urging cooperative action. Participants look forward to hearing from the ministers and working through these recommendations in the months to come.
Learning from the Comfort of Home: Community Living Ontario presented inclusive education webinar series
Almost 400 families pulled up a chair and settled in for information sessions about inclusive education from the comfort of their own homes. By tuning into a free webinar series, parents learned more about creating a vision for their child’s inclusive education, heard from experts, and networked with others.
Through the Community Inclusion Initiative, Community Living Ontario developed a monthly webinar series on inclusive education including:
• “Asserting Your Vision for Your Child’s Education” - January,
• “The Individual Education Plan (IEP) - February, and
• “The Individualized Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) – A Look at All Perspectives” - March.
Community Living Ontario wanted to reach out to families who aren’t able to get away for day or weekend-long workshops, but who still need information to help them get the type of inclusive education they want for their son or daughter.
The series was designed to give families the information they need when seeking a quality education that includes the expectations of academic success and inclusion in regular classrooms for their son or daughter who has an intellectual disability.
Although in-person workshops are still popular, the take-up on the webinar series was quite remarkable indicating that people appreciate receiving information on how to advance their vision of an inclusive education and navigate the school system.
Written with files from Natalie Hamilton, Axiom News.
Community Living Ontario Highlights Inclusive Education Efforts
CLO is focused on several projects promoting inclusive education in the province. Linda White and Kimberley Gavin are leading this effort. One of the most exciting projects is working with young people to tap into their energy and openness to social action.
The Re:ACTION4Inclusion Youth Initiative is creating a real buzz in some communities. After two very successful youth leadership conference’s hosted by the Community Inclusion Initiative, there is a clear momentum for change. Participants who attended these conferences have taken up the call to take action with enthusiasm and commitment.
Since the conferences held in March 2010 there have been a number of requests to have the Youth Advisory Group and the conference speakers come to local communities. The question that is causing the buzz and energizing people is : “What are Youth prepared to do to make our communities welcoming places?”
In November members of the Re:Action4Inclusion Youth Team hosted school assemblies at their schools to ask this question and to challenge their school community to re-think their preconceived notions of people who have a disability. School assemblies were held in various Ontario communities with speaker Norman Kunc telling his “Story Of A Stranger”.
An article describing the project on Community Living Ontario’s website.
Linda and Kimberley advise that the 3rd Annual Re:ACTION4Inclusion Conference will be held at the YMCA- Geneva Park Leadership Training and Conference Center in Orillia, March 25th-27th, 2011. This event will provide high school students the opportunity to tap into their leadership potential and nurture the potential to be strong advocates for inclusive education. This will enable them to have a voice in helping to change the culture of their schools.
Western Canadian Conference on Leadership for Inclusive Education
No-Excuses Campaign Continues
The No-Excuses Campaign for inclusive education has had a great response from the public. It has run on TV stations throughout Canada and has resulted in a great deal of positive feedback. There have also been a few messages from individuals who take exception tom the idea that inclusion is a shoe that fits every foot. This is one of the benefits of a campaign like this. It gets people thinking, talking and reflecting on the issues involved. We know inclusive education is an emotional issue. It is also – at the same time - both a simple and complex issue. Including kids is a simple concept. Developing the attitudes, programs and practices to support the teachers and children to make it a reality is not so simple – it is indeed complex and needs to be worked out through the application of good will, hard work and the persistent commitment to equality for all. Check out the No-Excuses website and while you are their join sign our Declaration for Inclusive Education in Canada. We need your support.
The young actresses who played the critical roles in the TV ads were recognized at a reception held to thank all the cast and crew of the campaign in early June in Toronto. At the left are “Jessica” and her “Me Too” Classmate.
Saskatchewan Parents Tell Their Stories
At a May 23/24 Forum in Saskatoon, three parents – all mothers – Lynn Schaan, Sherri McMann, and Bluesette Campbell - told powerful stories about their family struggle to achieve quality education in an inclusive environment. The stories were different because their lives are different but they shared a number of things important to every parent. First, all three articulated a very strong and positive vision for their child’s future; all emphasized the critical role school and peers played in their child’s education and overall development; and all had positive things to say about many aspects of their child’s experience in school, as well as practical suggestions on how things could be better. They inspired and challenged those who were present. We look forward to hearing more from them.
Above, Saskatchewan Parents: Lynn Schaan, Sherri McMann and Bluesette Campbell
Bruce Rivers Looks at Inclusive Education in New Brunswick
On May 29, Bruce Rivers, the Executive Director of Community Living Toronto, visited several schools and talked with teachers and education officials in New Brunswick. The visit was facilitated by Gordon Porter, CACL’s Director of Inclusive Education Initiatives who live in NB. CACL, Community Living Toronto and Community Living Ontario have a Tri-level Partnership working to promote inclusive education opportunities in Toronto schools.
The first visit was to the Keswick Valley Memorial School in Burtt’s Corner, just north of Fredericton. The school principal, Wayne Annis, provided a school tour and an update on what the school does to support inclusion. Margie Cummings, a former teacher in the school, now working as a volunteer shared the change process the community experienced in moving from a segregated school to the inclusion model in place today.
The second visit was to the Royal Road Elementary School in Fredericton. School principal, Donald Porter provided access to a number of classrooms where children with significant disabilities are supported and Bruce spoke to classroom teachers, resource teachers, teacher assistants and, of course, the children. Mr. Rivers commented that the school visits were very informative and beneficial.
McGowan Family Continues Leadership Efforts
Dale and Gwen McGowan have been leaders before. In the 1980’s and 90’s, the Regina couple, worked to get their son Jessie into as inclusionary a school program as they could. They became aware of the issues and startedtheir struggle when Jessie was in elementary school. When he was in high school they were seriously engaged with the school system – not always with the outcome they wanted.
Since Jessie has been out of high school he has had some challenges but also some very positive experiences Dale told me when we met recently in Saskatoon. There are two great things we want to let you know about.
First, Jessie has been part of a program at the University of Regina called – “Campus for All”. In this program young people with disabilities are able to take part in selected courses at the University in the Saskatchewan capital city. It’s a great program and you can check out more detail on it at this location. You can also see some photos of Jessie there.
Second, Jessie is a member of a band called “The Alcoholic Freaks”. Great name don’t you think? Check out their website – http://www.myspace.com/alcoholicfreaks .
The songs I listened to were “Bowling Problems” and “So Thirsty”. Check them out!
Ableism and Inclusion in Education
At a recent Forum on Human Rights and Inclusive Education in Saskatchewan, Margaret Kress-White of the University of Saskatchewan described the connection between “ableism” and traditional special education practice. Ms Kress-White, who is also a parent, has put together a compelling analysis of the influence of several concepts and perspectives and how they limit opportunities for students with disabilities.
Margaret says: “The impetus to study disability, human rights and inclusive education occurred after witnessing many injustices disabled students encounter in schools. A few areas my research is looking at includes: the invisibility of the disabled student, the barriers/avenues to citizenship for students with disabilities, the deconstruction of special education: correlations between eugenics and the framework of special education, and analysis of the construction of disability and normality through the legitimization of the medical model of disability found in academic discourse, helping teachers understand social and bio-social models of disability.”
Margaret also recently presented a paper “The right to belong: Addressing Ableism in Education” on March 15 at an Open House and Celebration of Research, at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan.
You can contact Margaret for more information at email: Margaret Kress White
Saskatchewan Human Rights & Community Living as well as CACL jointly Hold Forum
The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission joined the Saskatchewan Association for Community living (SACL) and the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) to sponsor a forum called – “Human rights and the inclusion of students with disabilities: a dialogue on the way forward.” The session was held in Saskatoon on Friday and Saturday, May 23/24, 2008.
Chief Commissioner Marilou McPhedran spoke several times during the forum. She reminded participants of the critical importance of Canada’s commitment to the recently signed United Nations Convention on the Rights of Person’s with Disabilities. Canada signed the Convention on March 30, 2007, one of more than 80 countries to do so on the first day it was possible. While Canada has not yet ratified the Convention, Chief Commissioner McPhedran reminded the group that Article 24 has strong provision for inclusive education and Canada is now under an obligation to act in good faith in connection to the Convention.
Zuhy Sayeed, Past President of CACL, and a resident of Lloydminster spoke on the work that was done by NGOs to develop the Convention. She shared some of her experiences working on the effort with other parents and advocates from around the world.
If you have not already done so – check out Article 24 of the Convention on the UN website.
In the photo: Marilou McPhedran and Zuhy Sayeed
Community Living Ontario Holds Inclusive Education Forum
Community Living Ontario held a one-day forum on April 30th in Toronto that asked the question – “What Makes Our Schools inclusive?”. Participants included parents, advocates, educators and others from around the province. The forum was part of the association’s strategy through the Community Inclusion Program.
One of the key speakers was David Coombs, a secondary school principal from Brockville. David Coombs is principal of the Brockville Collegiate Institute. His has been part of a special project to extend inclusive education practice to high schools in Ontario. The project is lead by Marilyn Dolmage and the Coalition on Inclusive Education. Marilyn has supported schools with training and program development with the financial support of the Ontario Ministry of Education. Mr. Coombs described the strategies he has used to provide leadership in his school and the positive results they have had so far.
Pictured are David Coombs and event organizer Kimberley Gavan of Community Living Ontario.
Manitoba Issues new Parent Guide
Community Living Manitoba has released a new “Parent Guide” on inclusive education. It is rich resource on the things that a parent needs to know to advocate effectively for their child. While there are aspects particular to Manitoba – most of the topics will be of interest to parents anywhere.
Manitoba “Parent Guide on Inclusive Education”
CHAPTER 1: INCLUSIVE SCHOOL PRACTICES
BEST PRACTICES IN INCLUSIVE EDUCATION; School Learning Environment; Collaborative Planning; Administration; Social Responsibility; Curriculum Planning and Implementation; Support Programs and Services; Classroom Practices; Planning for Transition; Partnerships: School, Family and Community; Innovation: System and Staff Growth; ONE FAMILY'S JOURNEY TOWARDS INCLUSION; WORKSHEET: YOUR FAMILY'S JOURNEY TOWARDS INCLUSION.
CHAPTER 2: GETTING TO KNOW YOUR SCHOOL
CHAPTER 3: LAWS AND POLICIES YOU SHOULD KNOW
CHAPTER 4: PLANNING YOUR CHILD'S INCLUSIVE EDUCATION
INTRODUCTION; WHAT SHOULD MY CHILD BE LEARNING AT SCHOOL?; DEVELOPING AN ASSESSMENT PLAN FOR YOUR CHILD;THE INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLAN (IEP); THE IEP STEP PLAN: 1. Gathering and Sharing Information ; 2. Developing and Writing a Plan; 3. Implementing and Reviewing the IEP; 4. Setting Direction; WHAT IS AN IEP?; WRITING STUDENT-SPECIFIC OUTCOMES; Evaluating Student-Specific Outcomes; HOW TO WRITE PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES; Evaluating Performance Objectives; A PARENT'S CHECKLIST FOR INCLUSIVE EDUCATION.
CHAPTER 5: ADVOCACY (OR WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU DON'T LIKE WHAT IS HAPPENING):
SNAPSHOT ON ADVOCACY; INTRODUCTION; DEVELOPING A VISION OF ADVOCACY;
ADVOCACY SKILLS AND INFORMATION; PROCESSES FOR RESOLVING DIFFERENCES;
Resolution at the School Level; Resolution at the School Division Level;
Resolution at the Departmental Level; ADVOCACY AND THE CHALLENGING OF AUTHORITY; HOW DO I KNOW WHEN I HAVE AN ISSUE?; HOW DO I PROCEED IN THE ROLE OF AN ADVOCATE?;
EFFECTIVE ADVOCACY STRATEGIES AND SKILLS; HOW TO SOLVE PROBLEMS; DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE COLLABORATION SKILLS; THE COLLABORATIVE TEAM;
CHECKLIST FOR EFFECTIVE PARENT/PROFESSIONAL COLLABORATION; For Parents; For Professionals.
CHAPTER 6: COMMUNICATING THROUGH BEHAVIOUR
APPENDIX 1: ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE SCHOOL SYSTEM
APPENDIX 2: THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITY
APPENDIX 3: STUDENT-SPECIFIC OUTCOME TEMPLATE AND SUGGESTED LANGUAGE
APPENDIX 4: INCLUSIVE EDUCATION ADAPTATION CHECKLIST APPENDIX 5: PLANNING ALTERNATIVE TOMORROWS WITH HOPE (PATH)
Manitoba's Parent Guide to Inclusive Education is now available on Community Living - Manitoba's website at www.aclmb.ca/Early_Childhood_Education/Parent_Guide_to_Inclusive_Education.pdf
Lauréats locaux pour l'inclusion scolaire
cliquez ici (PDF)
Manitoba's Summit on Inclusive Education: A True Celebration! February 20/08 Event
Click HERE for the details (PDF)
CACL Inclusive Education Brochure
Check it out!
Community Living Mantoba has many activities underway. Check them out in their "Parent Update Newsletter".
New Parent Guide to Inclusive Education
Community Living Manitoba releases new parent guide to inclusive education.
It is anticipated the guide will be available on-line at this site soon. Click here for details.
Sharing our Success – Mapping our Future
The Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Community Living held a Forum on inclusive education on April 19 & 20, 2007. Discussions focused on issues and possibilities.
PROCEEDINGS REPORT: Inclusive Education: Sharing our Success – Mapping our Future - Provincial Forum, April 19 – 20, 2007.
You can link to the report as follows: » NFLDInclusiveEd.pdf (pdf, 195 KB)
Preparing for Inclusion
Community Living Manitoba has had a useful document on their website for several years. It is called “Preparing for Inclusion” and is intended as a short guide for parents.
You can link to it as follows:
» Preparing_for_Inclusion_2003.pdf (pdf, 198 KB)
Autistic pupil allowed back; School apologizes after kicking boy out of JK
JEANNE PENGELLY - Friday, December 08, 2006
Joshua Downer likes school. That's significant because after going just four times in September, the four-year-old East City boy with autism couldn't go back.
His parents were told he posed safety concerns. But after a story about his plight appeared in The Examiner Saturday, the principal of Immaculate Conception School called Joshua's mother, Ruth-Ann Downer, and invited Joshua back.
» Click here for full story
National Inclusive Education Achievement Awards NB Association for Community Living Announces Winners
(Fredericton) The Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), a Canada-wide association of family members and others, which works on behalf of persons of all ages who have an intellectual disability, announced the New Brunswick recipients of the National Inclusive Education Achievement Awards at a ceremony held earlier this week at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Fredericton.
The Inclusive Education Achievement Awards are presented to an individual or teams who have made a positive contribution to inclusive education in their province or territory. Winners for each province were selected by provincial and territorial Associations for Community Living. » NB Inclusive Education Awards 2006 (doc, 3.5MB)
Inclusive Education Award to Marilyn Dolmage
Community Living Ontario has presented the “National Inclusive Education Award to Marilyn Dolmage. She has been commended for her long term and committed efforts to assure access to inclusive education for children in her province. » Dolmage Ontario Inclusive Education Award.doc (doc, 22 KB)
Special Awards for Significant Service Presented
NBACL made two special presentations at the award ceremony on November 26, 2006. Harvey Malmberg, a retired Deputy Minister of Education and Leonard Goguen, a former Professor of Education at the University of Moncton were honored for their contributions to inclusive education in New Brunswick
Mr. Malmberg was honored as the Deputy Minister of Education who introduced inclusive education to New Brunswick schools in the mid 1980’s. Mr. Malmberg’s vision, administrative leadership and tenacity were noted. He moved inclusive education to the top of the agenda and made it a reality at the policy level in New Brunswick. His leadership made New Brunswick a leader in Canada and the world.
Professor Goguen was a key individual in addressing the movement toward inclusion and in developing training for teachers in New Brunswick. He played a special role in the Francophone sector and created a pre-service and graduate education program at the University of Moncton that prepared teachers for inclusion.
In the photo below are: Dr. Michael Bach, EVP of CACL, Mr. Harvey Malmberg, Professor Leonard Goguen and Clarence Box, President of NBACL.
Manitoba adopts “Appropriate Education Act”
The Government of Manitoba has adopted and is implementing a new Education law designed to provide appropriate education for all students. Proclaimed in November of 2005, the amendment to the Public Schools Act – (Bill 13 - Appropriate Education Act) specifically addresses the inclusion and appropriate support of all children within Manitoba Schools. Bill 13 has two fundamental parts, the first addressing placement and programming for children with special needs and the second addressing a formal dispute resolution process to be used when decisions regarding placement and programming are questioned.
» Minister's Presentation (doc, 2.1MB)
NBACL Agrees With Report on Inclusive Education
Wayne MacKay, a Nova Scotia lawyer commissioned by the New Brunswick government to review the inclusive education program in the province has delivered his report. The NB Minister of Education released the report on March 15 in Fredericton.
Krista Carr, Executive Director of NBACL said her association was pleased that the report supports inclusive education. "Many of the recommendations MacKay made are consistent with NBACL's submissions", she said. The report has nearly 100 recommendations for legislative, policy and practices. MacKay said there are certainly stresses on the education system and that more money as well as additional training are needed. He also asserted that leadership is needed at all levels of the system to create opportunities for improvement.
The Minister of Education invited stakeholders to study the report and to take part in a symposium that will be held on May 28 & 29, 2006. The meeting will assist the ministry to develop an action plan that can be implemented in the 2006-07 school year.
The report is available on the New Brunswick Department of Education website at: www.gnb.ca/0000/publications/mackay/mackay-e.asp
We will post further information on the Mackay report - watch for details.
BBB Autism Support Network
Created by parents for parents, this website was created out of a desire to provide a place where a variety of information on Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). BBB Autism offers all sorts of hints, strategies, links and suggested reading on a wide range of topics, including pages on parental advocacy: www.bbbautism.com/advocacy.htm.
Communities and Schools Promoting Health
This website is a gateway to information on comprehensive school health and health promoting schools. It provides links to research, reports, how-to manuals, planning and assessment tools, and lesson plans. The link provided here leads you to a list of information resources for parents. The selected articles are intended to provide background information on the topic. The factsheets/FAQs/tips present practical advice and how-to strategies for parents.
Enabling Education Network (EENET)
EENET provides access to a unique and broad based body of expertise and experience in the practice of inclusive education worldwide. It is committed to prioritizing the needs of countries/organizations/individuals who have limited access to basic information and resources. This link takes you to a list of information, stories and resources specifically for parents: www.eenet.org.uk/parents/parents.shtml.
Listen Up Web
The Listen Up website provides information and resources for parents of children who are hearing impaired. It has an entire section devoted to information for parents on advocacy and rights with many links to other useful websites.
National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)
Funded by the by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education, this website connects you with the resources you need in your advocacy efforts on behalf of infants, toddlers, children, and youth who have disabilities.
TRI Online Independent Living Resources on the Internet
Taconic Resources for Independence, Inc. (TRI) is a Center for Independent Living in Poughkeepsie, New York USA. Its parent advocacy pages provide information and resources for parents of children with disabilities such as a parent resource guide, and educational, transition and school-to-work issues.
Parents, advocates, educators and attorneys come to Wrightslaw for information about special education law in the United States and advocacy for children with disabilities. You will find articles, cases, newsletters and resources about many topics, including a section on advocacy for parents. For advocacy articles, visit www.wrightslaw.com/main_advocacy articles.htm. For advocacy tips, visit www.wrightslaw.com/advocacy.htm.