I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for mainstreamed classes (also known as inclusion). I attended classes with my peers who didn’t have disabilities. We learned the same curriculum and participated in many activities together.
It was as much of a learning experience for me as it was for my classmates. My friends often asked about living with a disability and what it’s like to be in a wheelchair. I showed them that I could do many of the things they could do, but from a wheelchair. Despite our differences, we enjoyed spending time together.
My inclusion process wouldn’t be possible without the support of my parents, teachers and aides who helped me throughout the day to take notes and assist with other physically-demanding tasks. They were there when I needed help, but, also, encouraged me to become independent. As a result of being mainstreamed, I’ve become a productive citizen in society.
I had the opportunity to watch the documentary “Including Samuel.” It’s about a young boy with Cerebral palsy who attends mainstreamed classes in his elementary school. His parents are proponents of inclusion in the education system.
The documentary showed other students with varying disabilities who went through the inclusion process. In certain cases, inclusion was helpful; however, it may not be the best alternative for all students with disabilities.
As a nation, we just celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who wanted equality for everyone. Many people consider inclusion to be an important civil rights issue. I believe everyone should have the opportunity to determine if inclusion is the best option for them.