Inclusive education is a term which describes how children with any additional educational need should be supported and in turn be allowed the same access to education as any other child. Many factors enter into creating an inclusive classrooms in which children with disabilities learn alongside typical peers. Any one of these factors, or the lack of any, can affect inclusion and the quality of a student’s education. An inclusive education for students with disabilities typically does not just happen. For students to successfully learn in general education classrooms, adequate funding has to be in place to allow for more support from specialists and secure resources for teachers and students. Inclusive attitudes have to be held by school administrators, teachers, staff, and parents. Learning environments also must be physically accessible to students using wheelchairs, walkers, and assistive technology devices. The curriculum needs to be modified and adapted to meet the needs, and limitations, of a diverse group of children. Finally, open and ongoing communication must exist among all involved in educating students with disabilities.
Obviously, a student with a disability cannot learn in an inclusive classroom if he cannot enter the room, let alone the school building. Some schools are still inaccessible to students in wheelchairs or to those other mobility aides and need elevators, ramps, paved pathways and lifts to get in and around buildings. Accessibility can go beyond passageways, stairs, and ramps to recreational areas, paved pathways, and door handles. Classrooms must be able to accommodate a student’s assistive technology devices, as well as other furniture to meet individual needs.
Just as the environment must be accessible to students with disabilities, the curriculum must facilitate inclusive education, too. Educators must be willing to work with...