Book Review: ‘Out of My Mind’ by Sharon Draper
Inclusive Education Planning
by leanne
1y ago
‘Out of My Mind’ is a children’s novel written as a first-person narrative by Melody, an eleven-year-old girl who is limited in her movement and speech due to cerebral palsy. Melody provides the reader with insights into her life and the way she is discriminated against by others. At the beginning of the novel, Melody shares the impact of her disability on her life: ‘I can’t talk. I can’t walk. I can’t take myself to the bathroom. Big bummer.’ (Draper 2010 p. 3) The greatest challenge faced by Melody is that because she is unable to speak verbally, her intelligence is underestimated. Consequen ..read more
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My Journey From Special to Inclusive Educator
Inclusive Education Planning
by leanne
1y ago
I am a teacher who is committed to inclusive education, but I have not always held this belief. For a  large part of my teaching career, I taught students with disability in segregated settings. These segregated settings were special education classes and units, as well in a special school teaching students with intellectual disabilities. It was not until I moved on from classroom teaching that I had the time and space to rethink my beliefs. It was then that I made the cultural shift from supporting segregation to advocating for inclusion. But before I share my journey and the reasons beh ..read more
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The Definition of Inclusive Education
Inclusive Education Planning
by leanne
1y ago
If you ask one hundred different people to define inclusive education, you will most likely receive one hundred different responses. For example, here are five responses obtained from teachers and assistants when they were asked to define inclusive education: 1. Inclusion is about being really safe in a safe environment, and special schools are much safer than the mainstream. 2. Inclusive education works when students with high needs have one-to-one support with an assistant to access the mainstream. 3. Inclusion is a continuum of placements from mainstream through to special school placements ..read more
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Comparative Perspectives with a Disability Lens: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and Selected Epistles by Olivia Muscat
Inclusive Education Planning
by leanne
1y ago
Each time our students encounter a disabled person within the literature they read for school, they absorb impressions about disability. Literature shapes our understanding of who fits into the cultural ideal and who is an outsider. Literature may unconsciously reinforce negative beliefs about disability by portraying disabled people as evil, superhuman, pitiable or passive. Disabled characters often end up being either killed or cured within the literature because the idea of a disabled person living a full, complex, ordinary life is often too obscure for non-disabled people to imagine. This ..read more
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Comparative Perspectives with a Disability Lens: Wonder by R.J Palacio and Ugly by Robert Hoge
Inclusive Education Planning
by leanne
1y ago
The largest minority group in the world is the disability community and every teacher will have a disabled student in their class at some stage. Despite this, there are significant barriers to disabled students being valued and accepted within general education. Historically there has been a lack of diverse representation within children’s and young adult literature. Yet, teachers have long understood the benefits of literature with diverse perspectives because exposure to other ways of being is an way of promoting social justice. We also need a world where all students can see themselves repr ..read more
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Ten Myths About Inclusive Education
Inclusive Education Planning
by leanne
1y ago
Pervasive myths about inclusive practice and people with disability have been absorbed into education, creating barriers to inclusion through stereotypical views of students with disability. This blog outlines ten myths which perpetuate myths and stereotypes about students with disability. Special schools and classes can be inclusive A few years ago, a special school received an award for inclusion. The fact that a school segregating students with disability from their non-disabled peers was considered inclusive, and received an award for inclusion, demonstrates the lack of consistency with ..read more
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Unschooling: Do neurodiverse students have an inbuilt education system?
Inclusive Education Planning
by leanne
1y ago
I follow several people with lived experience of disability on social media as it provides valuable insights into their thoughts about education. While I often agree with their concerns about education, there are times when my understanding of the science of learning collides with their viewpoint. For instance, the statement below was made by Harry Thompson PDA Extraordinaire, who identifies as neurodiverse, and it had a significant number of people in agreeance: ‘We already have an inbuilt education system that we carry around with us, and from a young age, we develop our very own approach to ..read more
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Does the Concept of Vulnerability Help or Hinder Inclusive Education?
Inclusive Education Planning
by leanne
1y ago
The term ‘vulnerable’ is complex and multilayered and describes people at risk of experiencing exploitation, discrimination, abuse, neglect or violence. Traditionally, the term is applied to specific demographics such as people with disability, particularly those with intellectual disability or mental illness, who are perceived as not having capacity or having fluctuating capacity. Vulnerability is usually discussed in terms of particular characteristics that are intrinsic to individuals with the belief that people who cannot provide informed and voluntary consent are more susceptible to harm ..read more
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Book Review: Ugly by Robert Hoge for Younger Readers
Inclusive Education Planning
by leanne
1y ago
‘Ugly’ is a memoir by Robert Hoge about his childhood in Australia from his birth up to the age of 14 years of age. Robert’s story is a genuine, but at times harrowing, account of his experience of living with facial difference and physical disabilities. This review focusses on the version for younger readers aged eight and above, but there is also a book for adults. ‘Ugly’ is a great book to use in the classroom context to introduce issues relating to disability such as inclusion, discrimination and unconscious bias. Some teachers mistakenly believe that ignoring disability will result in the ..read more
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Exploring Children’s Literature to Promote Inclusion
Inclusive Education Planning
by leanne
1y ago
It is helpful to utilise texts that portray an authentic view of disability, but also not to completely exclude texts which do not meet this standard. Promoting discussion about the portrayal of disabled people can both reflect and shape societal attitudes, but it must be done with sensitivity. Focussing on these portrayals, then, becomes a means of examining, and in some cases opposing, ableism and discrimination. Check for disability stereotypes A stereotype is a simplified generalisation about a particular group, in this case, disability. Is disability merely used as a device, or as a met ..read more
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