Please visit our Garden City SEPTA’s grant program page for information and to see some examples of how some of our staff members support inclusion. We strongly encourage teachers and support staff to take advantage of this opportunity.
GC SEPTA has given out over $100,000 in grant money districtwide. Our grant program allowed us to provide equipment to support existing programs and to implement many new programs districtwide. Document cameras, iPads, digital cameras, and a Nearpod are some of the valuable equipment purchases that will encourage, stimulate, and enhance creative instruction districtwide. Our grant money also funds the grassroots, student centered recycling program called “The Green Team”. GC SEPTA provides programs that not only support special education students but ALL the students in our district.
BENEFITS FOR GENERAL EDUCATION TEACHERS IN SUPPORTING INCLUSIVE EDUCATION
+new friendships + partnerships with special educators, therapists, and other service providers + support systems (supplementary aids and services) + inservice programs and consultation helpful to all learners + improved teaching skills + new perspectives on teaching and learning + becoming skilled at differentiated instruction for all learners + sharing and learning techniques and materials + special education assistance with students who are developing typically + sense of accomplishment in supporting all students to achieve their potential + improved collaboration skills + co-teaching support + effective use of resources + family involvement + university involvement through research and practica support + federal and state funding of supported inclusive education + engagement with support organizations + supporting civil rights
One thing you definitely do not want to do is to move students into a less restrictive environment without considering a few key things. Here is what I suggest:
Determine the academic and social needs of the students. How can students actively participate in the general education environment? What supports are already available? What supports are needed (personnel, materials, space)?
Train staff and support personnel on how to integrate students into the general curriculum. Consider integrating for an activity or content before full integration is implemented.
Design activities in which students can work in small mixed-ability groups together. Students do really learn from one another, and mixed ability groups can also teach children how to be sociable.
Ask students with disabilities to perform specific roles or tasks to get them involved. Do not use their disabilities to define what they can or cannot do.
Involve parents and students in planning their IEP as their input is valuable. The non-academic skills that are discussed will help to support attainment of academic skills. Encourage students to share their interests and reflect them in the plans when possible.Always remember that each child should have an individualized education program (IEP), and placement should be made based on the child’s skills, abilities, and social readiness. Do not try to fit a child into a program; instead, design a program that fits the child. Students with the most significant needs are just children who need additional time and support. They present schools with challenges, but they are not insurmountable challenges. Considering the learning environments in this way can be an opportunity to provide these students with a more comprehensive program that enhances their overall development. Inclusive environments help to tap the potential benefits these children can receive and add to the growing number of effective techniques that will help each of these students reach their full potential.
The purpose of this guide is to better prepare community organizations to serve youth and families with autism. The information will help organizations learn to integrate youth with autism into existing programs, communicate with parents, and train their staff. For more info, click here.
Click below for the short film entitled “Inclusion Is Belonging”: