Let’s Talk About Inclusion!

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By Karen Wang

Last year, the principal at my son’s elementary school asked me to write a short essay about inclusion of students with special needs for the school newsletter during Autism Awareness Month.  I wrote a 450 word piece and submitted it a week before the deadline.  She never printed any part of it.  I think my direct approach to the topic made her uncomfortable.

Inclusion was on my mind again yesterday when a friend who lives across the country sent me the following message: “Do you have any good links to resources for first and second grade students to help them learn more about autism?  I teach a combined class with 25 general ed students and 7 autistic students, and today I found myself disciplining my gen ed kids for unkind words spoken in ignorance. I was incredibly angry until I realized that the kids have gone the whole year in a combined class and no one has ever talked to them about what autism is to help them understand their classmates.”

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