After listening to Bev recall her first experiences with how limiting the education system was serving our children with speciall needs back in the early 70s, I couldn't help thinking about how things haven't really changed that much really. Sure, our children are more visible in many of our classrooms and out in the community, but for as many who are "included" I see even more who continue to be "excluded" simply because classroom teachers do not have the time, resources, or facility to design a classroom setting that would be inclusionary.
The "special education" rooms we had back in the early 70s are not much different than what we have today for the population of kids who do not develop as their biological peers do in cognition ability. The difference is that children were denied access to education opportunities back then. Today the law says otherwise. And so for the last ten years, schools have been scrambling to make room for our children within their school districts. Some do a great job but most are still struggling financially meeting the needs of their typical developing population.
It's really up to the parent or caregiver to make sure their child is receiving the individualized special education to which they are entitled, not up to the school. And if the school offers a resource room, an individualized education plan that appears to be implement only at the times when an OT/PT/Speech person shows up once a week, and inclusive opportunties limited to "gym, art, or cafeteria" time, then we really haven't made that much progress since 1972.
What is considered a "distraction" in cognition-driven classrooms and our cognition driven society will always be considered a "distraction." Yes, we are still limiting many opportunities for our children in the community because they are still treated as a "distraction." Only until the "distraction" issue is resolved will our children ever be fully included in society.
Bev, you're not really leaving, are you? Because you're not done yet!