Integrated classroom versus resource model

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If you treat people as if they are what they ought to be, you help them become what they are capable of being. -Goethe

Where after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places close to home-- so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world . . . Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.  --Eleanor Roosevelt, March 27th, 1958, Remarks at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Recommended Reading

A Teacher's Guide to Including Students with Disabilities in General Physical Education

by Martin E. Block

Brookes, 2000

ISBN: 1-55766-463-3

Martin Block is an Associate professor of Kinesiology in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and has been co-director of the Adapted Physical Education Program at the university since 1992. His book is based on the IDEA Amendments of 1997, and helps educators make the mandated changes necessary for successful inclusion.

This is a practical handbook for any physical education teacher! It includes a description of what a quality physical education program should include, and reviews the history and key characteristics of inclusion. Block points out that "the least restrictive environment" may not always be the general classroom for some students who would benefit from a smaller, quieter environment. He suggests, however, that both special education students and their peers can benefit highly from being in general classes.

Block describes the importance of collaborative teaming, provides new information and assessment tools to determine who qualifies for physical education, shows how to complete the individualized education program (IEP), and provides information, models, and examples of how to implement instructional, curricular, and game modifications to facilitate inclusion.

He describes how the general physical educator can create a welcoming environment and prepare children without disabilities for inclusion. He examines the important issue of safety, focusing on legal issues as well as practical ways to create appropriate environments for all children. He also offers suggestions on how to cope with children who display behavior problems, and includes materials written by Ron and Lisa French, two leaders in behavior management. Another area, co-authored by Phillip Conatser, a leader in adapted aquatics, offers information on how to include children with disabilities in general aquatics programs, including safety considerations and adaptive equipment.

Block notes that "with appropriate supplementary aids and services, most children with disabilities can be included in general physical education alongside children without disabilities."

So what is inclusion and how does it affect your child's education? The subject is surrounded by misunderstanding and controversy and it is important for both educators and parents to understand the concept.

All students are members of the community. Inclusion is based on the philosophy that all students, regardless of disability, are and should be a part of the school's culture. The belief is that a student that requires special services should have the services brought to the student, not the other way around.

Special needs students are educated in their least restrictive environment (LRE). Most special needs students are capable of receiving education in a regular classroom. Placement of special needs students into special education classes puts them outside the school culture and creates division, fear, and ignorance.

Special needs students are not necessarily required to meet the same standards as other students. They participate in activities with the rest of the class though may be given special considerations for their disabilities. For example, a student who is unable to speak would not be able to give an oral report when the other students do, but could make some other kind of presentation. A student who has difficulty writing, perhaps due to fine motor skill problems or vision problems, could be given extra time on a test or allowed to take the test verbally.