Sunday, December 18, 2011

You've Got a Friend, At Least While the Teacher's Looking: Friday's Inclusive Class radio show was about promoting friendships in inclusive classrooms. And boy, is that sure something that everybody could use some help with. I think programs like the one our guest Heather McCracken was talking about can increase acceptance, and friendliness, and those are very good things. What I think often eludes kids with special needs in the mainstream is true friendship -- the slumber parties and the secrets, the roommates on school trips, the person who is genuinely glad to see you for reasons other than acceptance and understanding and because that's what nice kids do. I'm not sure how you make that happen, or if you can. Starting with the inclusion and the instruction early would certainly help, when kids with disabilities have the greatest chance of being just another kid. Inclusion proponents often tout that the mainstream is where the "real friendships" are, but I sure haven't seen that with my kids. Of the two of them, the one who spent the longest time in self-contained is the one with the longtime close friendships.

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