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!

View the Film Ian

Celebrate National Inclusive Schools Week with a powerful short film: “Ian” Academy Award-eligible, “Ian” tells the story of a real-life boy with Cerebral Palsy whose fierce determination to be included on his local playground changes the beliefs and actions of his community. Download these talking points that will help you generate a thoughtful post-viewing discussion among… Read more

ISN Partner: Shane’s Inspiration

An international non-profit organization, Shane’s Inspiration’s vision is to foster a bias-free world for children with disabilities.  Their mission is to create inclusive playgrounds and educational programs that unite children of all abilities. Take a tour of one of their INCLUSIVE PLAYGROUNDS. Together, We Are Able is their powerful school social inclusion program. Proven already… Read more

ISN Partner: Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools

Thanks to the Special Olympics Unified Generation, over 6,000 schools across the United States are centers of inclusion. Each Unified Champion School uses a three component model that offers a unique combination of effective activities that equip young people with tools and training to create sports, classroom and school climates of acceptance. These are school… Read more

ISN Partner: The Nora Project

The Nora Project‘s mission is to teach empathy by sparking friendships between students and their peers with disabilities. Why it Matters Creating supportive communities for people with disabilities (now and for the future) starts with teaching today’s generation empathy—a practice that will benefit them in all aspects of their lives. Without the opportunity to learn… Read more

ISN Partner: Intelligent Lives

Inclusive Schools Week is a proud partner with INTELLIGENT LIVES, the groundbreaking new documentary by Dan Habib. Narrated by Academy-award winning actor Chris Cooper, the film stars three pioneering young adults with intellectual disabilities – Micah, Naieer, and Naomie – who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college, and the workforce. The film can now… Read more

Swim Team: A Movie About a Diverse Group of Teenagers

Swim Team chronicles the extraordinary rise of the Jersey Hammerheads, a New Jersey based swim team of diverse teenagers on the autism spectrum. Following the team for a season from their first day at practice to the National Special Olympics, and covering their struggles and triumphs in and out of the water, Swim Team captures… Read more

Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools

Unified Champion Schools promotes social inclusion by bringing together young people with and without intellectual disabilities on sports teams (Special Olympics Unified Sports) through inclusive student clubs, together in school or community-wide initiatives, and by fostering youth leadership. At its core, this Unified strategy is about unifying all students— with and without disabilities—using sports as… Read more

The Importance of Inclusion in Play for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Guest Post submitted by: Alex Diaz-Granados Chief Editor www.cerebralpalsyguidance.com At CerebralPalsyGuidance.com, we have brought together a variety of experts to provide families and individuals with cerebral palsy the resources they need. With medical experts, lawyers, and even people who live with this condition, we gather the latest information about everything that impacts children with cerebral… Read more

ISN Partner: Kids Included Together & Changing Perspectives

Kids Included Together and Changing Perspectives have collaborated to create this Activity Guide for educators to help you celebrate Inclusive Schools Week at your school! Each day of the week has an inclusive theme and includes educator resources, student group activities, school-wide activities, informal learning assessment questions, and additional resources. Utilize as much of the content or as… Read more

ISN Partner: The Sparkle Effect

The Mission of 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. The Result Students with and without disabilities gain acceptance and confidence, become passionate leaders, and help schools and broader communities understand and embrace… Read more