Social Inclusion

A significant and continuing challenge in creating and sustaining inclusive schools is building authentic friendships for students with disabilities and their non-disabled peers. Ask almost any parent of a child with disabilities and you will discover a concern for the number and characteristic of their son’s or daughter’s friends, schoolmates, and teammates. Observe in almost any classroom and discover that students with disabilities typically have fewer friends and interact with them in fewer settings – primarily the boundaries of the school. Ask almost any teacher and discover that while social inclusion is of concern, we possess few practical skills and strategies to bridge this relationship gap.

It is well known that unless adults, teachers and parents do something purposeful, meaningful friendships for students with disabilities are more limited in number and depth. Children with disabilities are targets of bullying more often than their typical peers and this problem appears to grow worse as physical and verbal aggression in schools is being quantified and studied. Parents, students, and educators need support and skills to reverse this long-recognized exclusion from friendships and the social life of the school.

The Inclusive Schools Network works to increase attention to this important civil and ethical right to be included fully and meaningfully in the classroom, in the school, and in shared events and sports. With our current attention on academic inclusion through access to the general education curriculum, quality instruction, core curriculum standards we must make certain that we view ‘inclusion’ in it’s broader sense as well. The wish and the right to belong is one that moves all of us on a personal level. Until we establish social inclusion as a characteristic of every school’s culture and practice our work is not done!

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ISN Partner: United Theater

Get ready to celebrate inclusion and "put the spotlight on ability" with Unified Theater! Unified Theater has created two activities available for Inclusive Schools Week. The first is a Super Ability mural, where students reflect on their own abilities and add it to a wall displaying all the superpowers within the school. Template and directions available… Read More

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ISN Partner: The Sparkle Effect

The Sparkle Effect is working toward more inclusive schools nationwide by empowering students to create cheer and dance teams that include students with and without disabilities. Students with and without disabilities gain acceptance and confidence, become passionate leaders, and help schools and broader communities understand and embrace inclusion. The Sparkle Effect provides four primary services… Read More

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Inclusion on the Playground

Inclusive schools should be places where children not only achieve...but enjoy. The playground or inside play areas are oftentimes the center of a young child's social world. It is the place where friendships start, social networks form, and the rigors of the classroom seem far away. Children with disabilities and those from culturally and linguistically… Read More

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Websites that Promote Social Inclusion

CASEL's mission is to help make social and emotional learning (SEL) an integral part of education from preschool through high school. Edutopia includes a collection of profiles and research on K-12 schools, districts, and programs that are dramatically improving the way students learn using social and emotional learning. Paula Kluth's Blog is dedicated to promoting inclusive schooling and exploring positive… Read More

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Social and Emotional Learning in the Media

Movies that Move: Film Clips and lessons ideas from current media that promote inclusion and critical thinking based on four themes: Different Abilities, Power of Words, Acceptance and Youth Leadership. Stream the Movie Clips: (Takes a minute to load the first time, but it's worth the wait!) Movies that Move Leader Guide- Film Clips Promoting Inclusion &… Read More

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Articles: What is Social and Emotional Learning?

CASEL- What is Social and Emotional Learning? A resource that includes the Five Social and Emotional Core Competencies and FAQs. Creative Development: Growing a Child's Unique Gifts A focus on the emotional side of learning for all students. Social and Emotional Learning: What is it? How Can We Use It To Help Our Children? This article discusses ways… Read More

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Special Olympics Project Unify’s Resources for Promoting Social Inclusion

Unified Sports Handbook: bring inclusion to the playing field as athletes with and without intellectual disabilities train and compete together on the same team. Unified Teams Take Special Olympics Approach to School: example of the impact of Unified Sports from a Colorado High School, published February 12, 2012 in the New York Times It’s Our School Too!: Watch… Read More

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Social Inclusion Icebreakers and Connection Activities

These sites offer several icebreakers and connectiona activities that are perfect for getting to know your students. 21st Century Icebreakers: 13 Ways To Get To Know Your Students with Technology Julie Pack's Collection of Icebreakers and Connection Activities… Read More