Tonight I went to a speech given by an educational psychologist who works for the city I live in. The speech was on inclusion, and I went for one simple reason. To cry “foul” if she would lie. Some of her points were good. She stated that a special ed class inside a regular school is not inclusion (as many people here mistakenly still think). She stated that if one wants to “do” inclusion, one needs time and money, as the government is not entirely supportive. That is also true. She even admitted that in academic achievements, inclusion is better.
However, most of the rest was lies.
She said she was “for inclusion”, but by the time she was finished, it was clear that she was for inclusion very much, only not after age 7 and also not before age 7. She talked a lot about the need for the child to feel accepted by his peers, and not to feel over pressured. This is true, but the implication that this can not be done in inclusion is false. But her reason for staying out of inclusion before 7 is what made me finally blow the whistle loud and clear.
This woman had the audacity to say that inclusion is bad because one must learn language and basic grammar by age 7 to get the benefits of the flexible neurons of the younger brain. Oh, this is VERY true, about the brain. But then she went on to say that the children in inclusion, in the twice a week afternoon help, will not get this, so they need to go to special ed to get the intensive daily reading help that they need. The audacity and ludicrousness of her proposition is this:
1) There is no reason why a child in inclusion can not have one-on-one help with reading, each day in an inclusion setting. True, it means that it must be arranged, and this wicked city hall has to get their arms twisted to spit up the money needed to pay for more aid hours… but it is possible.
2) The fact that the children in the half-included class in this city did not learn reading by age seven was not due to an inability of the child to learn in inclusion. It was due to the fact that the class did not use the right methods, even though those of us who are well-informed about Down syndrome begged them to do so.
3) The kids in the special needs classes in this city CERTAINLY didn’t read by age 7.
4) The kids in special ed are exposed to poorer speech than those in inclusion, and are much less likely to learn correct grammar.
5) Children raised in properly planned inclusion often reach this “basic grammar” stage by age 7.
So I called “ foul” loud and clear.
You might think that I love fights. After all, I went to make a fight.
The truth is, I don’t like making a fuss. But I KNEW that they would stretch the truth. I just knew it. _______it, I KNEW it!
I feel like swearing, at the evilness of this trying to hoodwink parents with emotional appeals (to protect their child’s emotional stability). I witnessed their fear tactics (your child in inclusion is likely to eventually have an irreversible nervous breakdown). And what are they offering as the alternative? State-of –the-art “Down’s Ed type of therapy? No, a special education school whose level and expectations are so low that it makes me want to cry. True, inclusion in this country is not ideal. It is no Cadillac. Lets say it’s a cramped Volkswagen. But it beats the skateboard that they are trying to sell me.