ClRecently our board members Deb Safarik and Angie Willey completed training through Disability Rights Nebraska to become Inclusion Advocates for Families in the state of Nebraska. As part of our training we spent 2 whole days studying inclusion; what it is, what it could.be and why it is important to individuals with different abilities. These lessons confirmed what we already knew. Here in Nebraska, we have a long way to go,to change mindsets so that students with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities are fully included in the general ed classroom as the norm not the exception.
There are some wonderful stories of educators and families who strongly advocate for inclusion and work together to make inclusion a reality for their students. We would like to give a huge shout out to all of those families and educators who work hard to make every student feel like a valued part of the school. When children of all abilities are included in the general education classroom, every student benefits.
But far too often, we hear stories of families who fight tooth and nail just to get their kids included in specials, Children who's only inclusive time in a school is lunch, or children who spend their entire day in a separate wing of the school and only interact with other children who have disabilities. That is the reality for far to many of the students in the Nebraska Down syndrome community.
So this year for inclusive schools week, we would like to provide resources to help you advocate and ask for inclusion at your school. Remember at DSAA Nebraska we are here to help you with the IEP process. We can help you review your child's IEP, draft parent concern letters, and possibly even attend IEP meetings either in person, on the phone, or via a webinar connection. You don't have to do this alone.
The resource we would like to share with today is the TIES Center. This organization can help both families and schools with learning the best practice for inclusion and valuing all students.
Down Syndrome Advocates in Action Nebraska, is a group for parents run by parents.