Children spend a large amount of their lives at school. Being able to participate at every level is a key part of creating an inclusive environment for children with disability. An inclusive school experience is about more than just the classroom, and creating real inclusion has a number of factors.
What is inclusion?
Inclusion means that someone can participate in everyday life as they would like to.
During their time at school, children and young people often start to make more decisions for themselves and the way they rely on parents and carers changes. As children with a disability enter school, inclusion becomes less about what is important to their family and more about what is important to the person.
Make functional goals
Participating at school is not just about taking part academically. It is also about friendships, the playground, excursions, camp, carnivals, and being able to take part in the whole school community. You can support school age children by helping them to make functional goals about what is important to them and supporting them to work towards them.
Listening to the child and what they want is key to enabling them to participate.
Facilitate inclusive environments
Facilitating environments that are inclusive is key to making sure that school age children can meet their goals. By looking at the big picture, we can create inclusion in the curriculum so that all students are included in school.
On a day-to-day level, working with staff to set up adjustments for students to be able to take part in activities can have a significant positive impact for students who otherwise would not be included. For example, ensuring that school events take place in accessible locations for wheelchair users is a vital way to include students.
Where to get support
Every child and school environment is different, and Lifestart offers a range of options to support for students and schools. These include:
- A range of services that can be tailored to suit the child or young person’s individual goals
- SpeakUP, a program for young people aged 7-14 to feel more confident speaking up at school
- Secret Agents Society, a program for children aged 8-12 to improve their social and emotional skills
- Disability inclusion training for schools and community groups