Values of Our Inclusive Model

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  • Children should not have to meet criteria to participate in child care and classroom environments.
    We reject the notion that children with disabilities must be "fixed" (frequently couched in terms of meeting certain criteria) before they are ready to take their place in families, neighborhoods, and community environments and experience the normal flow of everyday life and friendships available to those without disabilities. We are particularly concerned that young children with severe disabilities and their families have the opportunity for inclusive in high quality child care and preschool and neighborhood school programs within the mainstream of programs available to typically developing children and their families.

  • Children with disabilities and children who are typical in their development have the right to get to know each other and develop relationships.
    We recognize that typically developing young children must have an opportunity to develop relationships with children who experience a wide range of disabling conditions. We acknowledge the importance of children learning to live in a pluralistic society and to accept individual differences at an early age. We believe that typically developing young children are at a critical readiness period for the experience of knowing a child with a disability and that their lives will be enriched by reaching out to friends who experience disabilities.

  • A viable program must reflect collaboration and involvement among all participants (e.g., families, early childhood educators, and special educators.)
    We believe that a viable program must reflect involvement, input, and ongoing collaborative efforts from all participants, including the families receiving services and the special education and community early childhood program and pubic school personnel.

  • The uniqueness and dignity of each child must be valued, preferences acknowledged, choice-making supported, and the application of aversive procedures rejected.
    We hold deep respect for the uniqueness and dignity of each child as an individual human being who merits our careful observation and response to his or her needs. We reject the application of any aversive procedures and believe that the acknowledgment of child preference and the development of choice- making skills, a sense of self, and personal autonomy are critical.

  • Inclusive programming must incorporate recommended and exemplary practices.
    We believe that inclusive programming efforts must incorporate recommended and exemplary practice approaches, which include those that support social interactions with typically developing age peers and functional instructional objectives that are taught and practiced using developmentally appropriate activities and materials available to all children in the program. Additionally, objectives and outcomes must be based on family priorities and developed with input from the family and the interdisciplinary team of service providers. The principle of partial participation should be used to maximize involvement when the child is not able to perform all aspects of an activity.

  • The concept of natural proportions should guide placement decisions.
    We accept the concept of natural proportions and believe that it is best to place young children with disabilities in programs in accordance with realistic population distributions.

  • Time and energy should be directed toward investigating variables that make inclusion successful.
    Our time and energy should be vested in investigating the variables that make inclusive educational endeavors work in the best possible way.

A circle of inclusion: Facilitating the inclusion of young children with severe disabilities in mainstream early childhood education programs. (1993). Lawrence, KS: Learner Managed Design.

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