Prove That Every Student Counts

Uniqueness; Removing the Stumbling Block



See the child. 

It should really be that simple, right?

I think that for so many in the field of education, this seems like an obvious statement. See the child. Of course; that’s what educators are charged with after all, isn’t it? And yet, is it really happening? How many teachers develop preconceived notions about a student before they even meet based on a classification, a file or a teacher-to-teacher report? How many times do we allow ourselves to judge one another based on stereotypes, misconceptions or assumptions?

Some thoughts from my own behavior and practice:

Do not allow for preconceived notions.

In our school, I ensure that teachers have the information necessary to keep our children safe when school opens, but I intentionally wait a few sessions before sharing specific strategies and teacher-to-teacher information about classified students. Why? Because first impressions matter. No student should be underestimated based on his struggles from the year before. We shouldn't expect a student to behave poorly simply because she has had behavior issues in the past. See the child; not her disability, not his limitations.

When you encounter a child with a disability, speak directly to the child.
When you speak to a child’s caregiver, you automatically imply that the child is invisible. If you say hello to a child and she does not answer, it is likely that her parent or caregiver will step in to help facilitate the conversation. But it is on their terms. Ever say hello to a shy toddler? When she grips an adult’s leg, the adult typically says, “she’s shy”. This is the same concept. See the child; not her disability, not his limitations.

Involve children in appropriate decisions.
Just as you would involve neurotypical children in their own decision-making when it becomes developmentally appropriate, do the same for children with disabilities. Ask them to be involved in increasingly more mature decisions such as what they might like to wear or eat, what interests them and what they believe their strengths and weaknesses might be. See the child; not her disability, not his limitations.

Avoid assumptions.
Children with disabilities are unique. All children are unique! A child may have a classification of autism, cerebral palsy, ADHD or a learning disability; but that doesn’t mean he will demonstrate the same behaviors and competencies as someone else with the same diagnosis. See the child; not her disability, not his limitations.

Every child counts. It really can be that simple.




Sign up here to be sure you never miss a post from Removing the Stumbling Block:

Ten Steps to Make Your Congregation Inclusive

Ten Steps to Make Your Congregation More Inclusive; Removing the Stumbling Block


Inclusion can seem overwhelming for a community that has not previously made accommodations or offered opportunities for individuals with disabilities. My advice? Start small, but start somewhere. And while this may help to make the task seem somewhat less daunting, I suspect that for many, it begs the question, "How do I begin?"

The Secret Key to Inclusion is Transparency

The Secret Key to Inclusion is Transparency; Removing the Stumbling Block

The new school year is upon us. And soon, the new Jewish year will be upon us, as well. The start of a new year can be the most ideal time to make sure that your community and your classrooms are as inclusive as they can be.

Here is a piece that I think is significant: Even if you cannot make every single change that you hope to make at once, being transparent about your efforts and helping your community know that inclusion is something you value will go a tremendous way.

All too often communities feel that they can’t use the language of inclusion if they aren’t “inclusive enough” (let’s not talk now about those who call themselves inclusive but really aren’t…that’s another challenge for another day).

It is ABSOLUTELY acceptable to say that you are making efforts to be as inclusive as possible as you work to make the necessary changes and shape the culture of your community. The key here is transparency.

Move From Intention to Action



In Judaism, intention (kavanah) is an essential component of meaningful action. Kavanah comes from the Hebrew root meaning to direct, intend, or focus. Living a meaningful Jewish life involves combining our actions with the intention we bring to those actions.
 
Removing the Stumbling Block intention action disability inclusionRabbi Yaakov Yitzhak of Pshi’scha, taught, “Good intentions alone, if not accompanied by action, are without value, as it is the action which makes the intentions so profound.” 

It is essential to back up our words with action to fully include individuals with disabilities. Each of us must move from intention to action.  

Some additional thoughts to get you started:

For your congregation - Ten Steps to Make Your Congregation More Inclusive

For your classroom - Teaching the Difference Between Fairness and Equality

For your family - Teach Your Children to be Accepting of Disabilities

For you -  Inclusion is NOT Social Action

Be sure you never miss a post from Removing the Stumbling Block:







#BlogElul; Removing the Stumbling Block
This post is a part of #BlogElul. The Jewish month of Elul, which precedes the High Holy Days, is traditionally a time of renewal and reflection. We look to begin the year with a clean slate, starting anew, refreshed.
 

 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...