Thursday, November 02, 2006

Inclusion Confusion

"Inclusion" is both mantra and golden calf amongst New Brunswick's educators and senior Department of Education officials. The top Education bureaucrats delight in taking bows on the national and world stages about how wonderful inclusion is in New Brunswick. But do they even know what it means? Do any two bureaucrats mean the same thing when they get together to discuss inclusion practices? The short answer is no. People, senior NB education bureaucrats included, are often talking apples and oranges when they discuss inclusion.

I am very disappointed with the limited understanding of autism and autism interventions demonstrated in the MacKay Report on Inclusive Education but I do agree with the learned Professor that there is much confusion about what the term "inclusion" means. The New Brunswick Association for Community Living promotes the view that inclusion means putting all children in a mainstream classroom. The NBACL belief is that mainstream classroom inclusion benefits all children a view not held by the Autism Society New Brunswick which advocates inclusion in a real learning experience based on what the evidence demonstrates actually works for any given child or student - both as to placement in or out of the classoom and as to methodology of instruction. Other groups and persons speak of inclusion as meaning inclusion in neighborhood schools. Professor Mackay got it right when he recommended that the government move promptly to define what is meant by inclusion in the context of New Brunswick schools. Unfortunately, one year later that recommendation has still not been acted on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Prof. Wayne Mackay absolutely missed the mark on Autism in his report. NBACL endorses a type of inclusion that can do harm to some autistic students. ASNB needs to be involved in ALL talks which directly and in-directly affect students with an ASD.

I agree that the beaurocrats are stalling yet again on moving forward to meaningfully educate our children with autism.