Building a better future for our children through inclusion: A resource handbook for parents
Best practices are continually evolving and developing in the arena of public education. Additionally, with the variety of teaching methods in use, it is important to ensure parents are educated and kept abreast about the latest trends and best teaching practices, particularly those that may best meet the needs of their child. Although the practice of inclusive education has been a federal law for more than four decades, current research has established that as more parents are learning about equal educational rights for their child, more schools are being required to move toward the inclusive model of education. While there is not a universal definition for inclusion, the basic defining factors include an educational setting in which all students are fully accepted members of their school community. This includes students of diverse cultural backgrounds, and students who learn differently than typical students, as well as those living with physical disabilities. Inclusion calls for their educational and instructional environment to be the same as their nondisabled peers, whenever appropriate, and that this inclusive setting must include differentiation instruction for these students. These practices are governed by laws such as IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). Most teacher preparation and credential programs are implementing inclusion practices into their curriculum, and many schools are including it as best practice in professional development. This study included multiple parent surveys, in which it was found that a large number of parents of typical students only, were not familiar with inclusion in schools. Due to these results, a handbook was created to educate parents about the components involved in inclusive education. All parents want the best education possible for their child, so educating them about the defining factors, the benefits, and the rights of students to experience inclusion, is the project product found herein. This Inclusion Handbook addresses questions, misconceptions, and concerns about inclusion, and its contents support parents in choosing the best education for their child.