Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Facing Autism Flexible Inclusion Versus NBACL Extreme Inclusion on CBC Maritime Noon Thursday September 20

This Thursday, September 20, 2012 at 12 pm AT (1 ET) I will be a guest on the CBC Radio show Maritime Noon.  I will be discussing and advocating for a flexible model of inclusive education. Marlene Munn will also be interviewed on behalf of the NBACL which promotes a full, and in my opinion, extreme model of regular classroom inclusion for all students.  I am not sure if persons outside Canada can access the show on the CBC web site but this is the link for Maritime Noon if you want to try and listen to the discussion at the  CBC Maritime stations listed on the right side bar under "Air Times".

I have commented previously on the NBACL's inflexible, extreme model of inclusive education which requires all students, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, regardless of the challenges they face, regardless of the evidence and regardless of whether it is in a specific child's best interests to receive instruction in the regular classroom. I have written and spoken often of the fact that we had to ask for our 16 year old son with severe autistic disorder to be removed from the regular classroom which overwhelmed him and resulted in serious self injurious behavior. 

Autism, as the cliche goes, is a spectrum disorder and some autistic children thrive in the regular classroom. Some do not. For some, like my son, the regular classroom causes harm. Yet, the philosophically obsessed NBACL which acts as an unofficial division of the New Brunswick Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, as I described in Autism Education in the Era of the NBACL Inclusion Government, opposes a flexible model of education which would provide alternative learning environments for those children, like my son, whose challenges, based on the evidence, require learning in a quieter environment using different instruction methods suitable for them. 

Some people find it difficult to believe that the NBACL, in this day and age, contrary to evidence, contrary to common sense, and contrary to the experience and wishes of parents, who best know their own children, would still insist that every child should be educated in the regular classroom.  But that is exactly what the NBACL insists upon.  As the NBACL likes to say  its philosophy based full Inclusive Education policy "is that simple".

NBACL Web Site: Inclusive Education

What is inclusive education? It is simple: children go to their community or neighbourhood school and receive instruction in a regular class setting with non-disabled peers who are the same age.

NBACL Icon Gordon Porter in  the Western Star (Newfoundland) article "Inclusion in the classroom simple, says educator"  

CORNER BROOK — Gordon Porter believes inclusion is the most natural thing in the world. The educator and director of Inclusive Education Initiatives presented a session on inclusive education at the Greenwood Inn and Suites on Thursday. Porter, who is also the editor of the Inclusive Education Canada website inclusiveeducation.ca, spoke to parents, educators and agency professionals who deal with children with special needs at the pre-conference for the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Community Living Conference taking place in the city today and Saturday. The session was sponsored by the Community Inclusion Initiative. 

Porter’s session revolved around the theme of parents and teachers working together to make inclusion work.It means kids go to their neighbourhood schools with kids their own age in regular classes,” said Porter.“If you’re seven years, old you go to the school just down the street. You go in a class with other seven-year-olds, and you’re supported if you have extra needs. “It’s so simple, it’s that simple,” said Porter."


    farmwifetwo said...

    Been there, tried that, it only works in fairy tales and mine is easy going and laid back.

    3yrs ago it would have been inclusion at all costs. But I have since learned my lesson and we doo what is right not politically correct.

    This afternoon - and starting last week for 12 weeks, Wed from 2 to 2:30 pm - my kid is in private swimming lessons. So private there is nobody in the pool but him and one of 4 head lifeguards at the pool. We've tried groups, we've tried privates during regular lesson times. We've had to deal with the fear of that autistic kid and the noise makes it impossible for him to concentrate.

    This is better... although I'm certain many would have told me that I should have just kept going the other way and made him frustrated instead of excited to go to swimming lessons.

    Let's not get started on school. That's another discussion entirely.

    Anonymous said...

    If we were to focus on the needs of each student and their education, support and functional goals our kids would be receiving an actual education. Inclusive education is a battle that should be discussed on an individuals educational programming. Maybe they can handle a classroom setting- they can learn and develop in a classroom setting with the proper support and goals. Our government needs to understand that they are not even providing support to some children that are higher on the spectrum.For example: Aspergers Syndrome or ADHD. So while we are celebrating that this child has been "included" in the classroom- he/she is struggling with issues in learning, social goals, language barriers etc.In turn- no learning has been done, the teacher is exhausted from trying his/her best to teach this child but cannot control the behaviours that are a result of boredom, sensory issues, the child is unable to follow the class or teachers instruction. I'd get pretty upset as well if I had to spend my days that way.

    Let's not forget that Autism is a SPECTRUM DISORDER. It presents differently in each individual. So- we need to treat our students with special needs the same way.

    Have your SEP meetings and plan for your child's education- in the classroom, out of the classroom or both. I care more about the EDUCATION my child with special needs receives and the specialized training that my education assistant has in order to reach the goals of the SEP.

    I am more concerned about the cutbacks in support staff, lack of training in our school teachers, lack of Methods and Resource Teachers, trained Education Assistants in our Province and present lack of Autism Resource Teachers in the Fredericton/Oromocto schools.

    Advocate for your child and lobby your government for more funding. The inclusion debate will be a distraction from the real issues for a long time!

    Sandy Crux said...

    Anonymous at 9:13pm. Well said.