Get Inclusion Collaboration Minutes in the IEP (Ep 137)Jun 29, 2022
Special education and general education teachers have to work together for inclusion to work... but what does that really look like?
At this very moment, I'm packing to present special education strategies at a HUGE teacher conference in Orlando. I'm so excited to share some simple, game-changing ideas with both special education and general education teachers, but this opportunity has got me thinking... Why has it taken SO LONG for special education to be included in professional development intended for general education teachers?
We expect inclusion to happen in our school, yet we're not including special education teachers in most professional development and vice versa. This practice would really help both parties serve all the students in our communities and classrooms.
Did you know that there's a place IN THE IEP to include structured time for general education and special education teachers to work together? You can and SHOULD build collaboration minutes directly into your child's IEP! It's impossible for a child to be successful if members of their IEP team aren't receiving the necessary training and skill to support your child.
Parents, you need to know to ask for this to happen! Collaboration can be built in to service minutes, or included in the training needs section.
For example, when a general education teacher views the "laundry list" of accommodations listed on a child's IEP, it can seem very overwhelming to provide all those needs for just one student when the teacher has so many more students with their own needs in her classroom. This is the perfect opportunity to build collaboration time into that child's IEP for the special education teacher to sit down with the general education teacher and talk about, "Okay, what does this accommodation look like inside your specific classroom?" It can be so helpful to the teachers and students to have 1 on 1 time for working out the details.
Think about AAC devices! It's so important for both the student and the child to be able to communicate using the assistive technology provided. Create a schedule for that teacher to be trained on the device and how best to communicate with the child so that a real connection can be fostered.
Bottom line is: If you're concerned about inclusion or looking for more inclusion inside a child's school day, and you're not sure how to make that happen, you have to make sure that the IEP team is communicating and looking outside of the typical "send them to music, art, or PE". We must look for opportunities for the child to experience the entire school campus, to be as independent as possible, and to be supported by adults and other students — we can do that by working with the IEP document to make sure that happens!
Inclusive experiences at school lead to more inclusive communities long-term!
Here's a glance at the episode...
[0:52] "We expect inclusion to happen in our school, yet we're not including special education teachers in most professional development and vice versa. This practice would really help both parties serve all the students in our communities and classrooms."
[3:53] "We design a school day for [students] that is inclusive, but to do that we need the adults on board!"
[6:05] "If you're concerned about inclusion or looking for more inclusion inside a child's school day, and you're not sure how to make that happen, you have to make sure that the IEP team is communicating"
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Do you need an IEP workshop at your school or in your community? Contact Catherine at www.catherinewhitcher.com
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