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The Importance of Inclusive Education for All Kids

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Jul 1, 2015

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Inclusive education is a phrase used to describe the joint education of special needs and typically developing children. It’s an often misunderstood and misused concept; many schools claim to be inclusive, but with the best will in the world, few are. So, what is it all about?

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What is inclusive education?

Inclusive education means students and special needs students learn while sharing the same physical space and interacting socially and academically. It’s not either-or; simply sharing the same physical space, but engaging in completely different activities, is not inclusive. Because of this, it’s important for a school’s whole community to understand inclusion and make it a goal: School administrators, teachers, parents and kids all have to buy into its value. When this happens, everyone benefits.

The importance of inclusive education

At its core, inclusive education is about appreciating each individual’s differences and unique set of strengths and limitations. It’s not just an education philosophy; it’s an important life skill. Children grow into adults who live in a world filled with people different from themselves; learning how to interact and work with these people is a key accomplishment of childhood, as integral as academic proficiency. An inclusive school is a perfect training ground for real life, because daily social, physical and academic interaction between kids who are typically developing and their special needs peers means students develop:

  • Greater sensitivity. Children who develop in a typical manner become more sensitive by learning side-by-side with special needs children. They understand how words can hurt, they practice patience, and they learn empathy.
  • Better understanding of strengths/weaknesses. Kids in inclusive schools learn that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. They learn to appreciate these differences and how to collaborate in order to accomplish something.
  • More tolerance. Inclusive schooling teaches kids the value of another human being—no matter what that person looks or sounds like. Physical and mental differences do not equate to a lesser value.

Spotting the inclusive school

Inclusive education in the real world requires a delicate balance of resources, goodwill and monitoring in order to make the experience successful and beneficial for all students. Parents of all children will find an inclusive school has:

  • A learning resource center or an in-house team of specialists who can address the unique needs of special needs children.
  • A sensitized teaching staff with the enthusiasm and skill to teach inclusively.

Inclusive education in India, where the field of special education is still nascent and funding is low, can be difficult to find. While you may not find the ideal mix of support in your child’s school, it’s important to work with what already exists in the system in order to create greater awareness and opportunities for inclusion. Be a champion of inclusive projects and programs whenever possible in your child’s school and life.

Living an inclusive life

Inclusion isn’t just an educational style, it’s a life philosophy. Children pick up cues from adults early on, and if you make a big deal of people’s differences, your children will, too. Inclusive education combats the world’s tendency toward prejudice and fear, and produces more tolerant, peaceful, and open children—and adults.

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Written By Shamin Mehrotra & Rucha Shelgikar

Shamin Mehrotra is a therapist and part of the Ummeed Management Team for over 10 years now. She has been instrumental in developing the Mental Health Training Program as well as conceptualizing, building and supervising the Social Work as well as the School Outreach teams at Ummeed. She also provides counseling for children with disabilities and their families. Shamin graduated from the University of Mumbai, India with a Master’s degree (MA) in Applied Psychology. She went on to pursue another Master’s degree (MSED) in Psychological Services from the University of Pennsylvania, USA.

Rucha Shelgikar is a part of the School Outreach Team at Ummeed. The team works closely with schools to develop inclusive policies and practices through sensitization and capacity building. Rucha is a General Physician by background and graduated from Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai.

  1. Sakina Kopti

    Your article beautifully presents the need and the positive effects of having an inclusive teaching environment at schools. You have so rightfully described kids as “typical” not “normal”. Normalcy is such a relative term. This step taken today will ensure that the coming generations respect, accept and work their ways around each others differences.

  2. DR IT Group

    Your article inspiration for the all the students. it is very effective and helps in developing the growth of children. The coming generation aware of the value of education.

  3. KB LANGA

    your article is well present according to me even now i am not understand, the term inclusive education, some they say learner who are disable, who need specail school, like patially blind

  4. Chetan Gupta

    Hi Shamin

    I believe education is something or I should say education is everything and one can only attain it through our will. See nobody can force you to study or to believe what they say. There is a great saying “ The books are person’s best friend.” But only books can not give us what our life want from us. We have to take a step to implement on our life. An educated person knows what is right and what is wrong. It improves our life standard , personality and mindset. The way you explained everything here is so amazing. Keep this awesome sharing. Best Wishes…

  5. electrical instruments

    I think education is to believe to say that books are the best friends of people and it improves the life and living style of the peoples.

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