1. Understanding Inclusive Schooling & the Role of Behavioral Therapy:
Inclusion in education is an approach to educating students with special educational needs in a mainstream setting. It stresses interdependence & independence, views all students as gifted, and values a sense of community. Inclusion is about engendering a sense of community and belonging; encouraging mainstream & special schools and others to come together to support pupils w/ special educational needs. With the ever increasing numbers of individuals diagnosed, and even those not formally diagnosed, it is important that inclusion be viewed as an educational orientation that embraces differences and accepts uniqueness.

Inclusive education differs from previously held notions of integration and mainstreaming, which tended to be concerned principally with disability and ‘special educational needs’ and implied
learners changing or becoming ‘ready for’ or deserving of accommodation by the mainstream.

Learning Objectives

  • Discuss characteristics to inclusive schooling
  • Discuss Illusions to Inclusion
  • Discuss Quality Indicator for Successful Inclusion

2. The Role of the School Shadow / Learning Support Assistant (LSA):
In order for a child to be successful in school, proper supports are needed. Best practices taught to future teachers specify that inclusion is the most appropriate setting for any child regardless of their level of need or disability. Contrary to popular belief, success in an inclusion setting does not fall on the shoulders of the special education teacher or the regular education teacher, although they are necessary participants. It is actually the learning support assistant (LSA) or ‘school shadow’ that is the key to a successful inclusion program.

Shadowing a child with any learning delays in a regular education classroom is one of the most challenging teaching experiences that any teacher can have. Unfortunately, the LSAs that an inclusion program depends on for success tend to have the least training. This is a critical factor that requires immediate attention and change. This can be accomplished using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) by finding opportunities to practice skills in a functional way throughout the day. This requires a trained professional to be able to assess the situation and environment at any given time and support the learning that can be accomplished.

The LSA is specifically expected to manage problem behavior, assist with academic tasks, facilitate
classroom/group participation and last but not least, facilitate appropriate socialization. Although it
can be quite demanding and tiresome, it is also extremely rewarding for the individual, their family
and the professionals.

Learning Objectives

  • Discuss the goals of school attendance
  • Identify the specific skills to be targeted
  • Discuss the role of the learning support assistant (LSA) or school shadow/facilitator
  • Discuss characteristics of a valuable vs. invaluable LSA
  • Discuss the Phases of School Shadowing

3. Individualized Educational Plans (IEPs) – Preparation & Implementation:

Essentially, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is a “roadmap” for the students’ education and serves as the cornerstone of a quality education. Each individual who receives special education and related services must have an IEP, as it is an educational programme that is tailored to the specific needs of the individual.

The IEP would be developed with input from an individuals parents and a multi-disciplinary team including Regular Education Teachers, Special Education Teachers, Behavior Analysts, Clinical Psychologists, Educational Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists, etc.It creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when appropriate) to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities.

Learning Objectives

  • What is an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?
  • Discuss the domains of an IEP
  • Selecting Target Skills (behavior, academics, social, etc.)
  • Review sample IEPS
  • Discuss best practice for Writing IEP goals & objectives
  • Discuss measurement and analysis of goals
  • Discuss implementing the IEP

4. Creating a Comfortable Classroom for Individuals with Unique Learning

It is important to understand thatinclusive classrooms and schools are complex entities and require much thought and planningto bring to fruition. Looking in an inclusion classroom may look exactly like a regular education classroom, but there are actually some significant differences. Typically the inclusive classroom has two teachers, a regular education teacher and a special education teacher who co-teach. The students consist of regular education students and special education students who are taught together. At times, the classroom will break into groups for small group instruction and other times they are taught together. Students do not know which ones have an IEP and which ones do not. The teachers in the classroom help any student who needs help.

The key to establishing a successful inclusive classroom is looking beyond the physical and aesthetically pleasing characteristics to consider additional factors, including any sensory limitations that may limit the individual(s) from reaching their maximum academic potential.
Learning Objectives

  • Review Characteristics of Inclusive Schooling
  • Discuss aspects of an Inclusive Classroom
  • Discuss considerations when creating a Comfortable Classroom
  • Discuss diverse Learning Styles

5. Academic Accommodations vs. Modifications:

When providing inclusive education it is imperative to consider necessary modifications and accommodations to help ensure the individual reaches their maximum. The term «accommodation» may be used to describe an alteration of environment, curriculum format, or equipment that allows
an individual with a disability to gain access to content and/or complete assigned tasks. They allow students with disabilities to pursue a regular course of study. Since accommodations do not alter what is being taught, instructors should be able to implement the same grading scale for students with disabilities as they do for students without disabilities.

The term «modification» may be used to describe a change in the curriculum. Modifications are made for students with disabilities who are unable to comprehend all of the content an instructor is teaching. For example, assignments might be reduced in number and modified significantly for an elementary school student with cognitive impairments that limit his/her ability to understand the content in general education class in which they are included.

Learning Objectives

  • Discuss the difference between modifications and accommodations
  • Discuss various types of academic modifications
  • Discuss various types of academic accommodations
  • Indicators that modifications and/or accommodations are needed