Parents often consult with me for ideas on how their child’s school can be more inclusive. I’ve come up with a list of ideas by thinking on the spot, having great discussions with other parents and IEP teams, and doing lots and lots of reading. In today’s episode I talk about three strategies I recommend for schools that want to be more inclusive. I’ll give you the strategy AND tools parents/guardians can use to advocate for more inclusivity in their child’s school environment.
We’ll talk about using a child’s interests to motivate him or her. This strategy makes learning more fun and also mixes things up for the teachers, a win-win! My son’s speech therapist recently tapped into his admittedly odd obsession with moles by cutting out pictures of moles and using them in scenes to work on prepositions (“put the mole on top of the roof!”)
I also suggest that teachers work to allow the child to communicate effectively in the classroom. Sometimes child can’t participate equitably with oral expression, and quite frankly, if we can’t participate, we don’t feel included. There are lots of strategies teachers can use to elicit communication and participation. These techniques encourage participation, which encourages belonging.
Finally, we’ll talk about big school events like fairs, plays, talent shows, and social opportunities. These events provide extensive opportunities for students to really feel like they’re a part of a community, which is a key to inclusion.