This week, in honor of Inclusive Schools Week, the National Down Syndrome Society is sharing real stories about how inclusive schools have made a difference in the lives of families of a child with Down syndrome.
My daughter, Kelly, began early childhood classes with a handful of students with disabilities when she was almost 3 years old. Most of her classmates were nonverbal. They were secluded from other children in a small class in the back of the school. As kindergarten loomed ahead, I knew I wanted her to go to school with her typically developing peers. So, armed with information from the National Down Syndrome Society, I headed into her annual IEP. The school planned to place her in a class where they put all the kids with a variety of challenges. She was to have pull-out therapy in several resource rooms. It was the way they had always done it. I asked that Kelly be placed in the least restrictive environment with therapy taking place within the classroom and not during academics. A whole room full of people just looked at me…silence. I was obviously going to be “that mom.”