As I mentioned in my welcome post, I hope to share some of the transition journey as my daughter moves from her local primary school into mainstream secondary. To put that into context, I thought it would be worth looking at my concept of inclusion that underpins it .
The Oxford English Dictionary definition of inclusion is “the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure”. I interpret this as a state of being rather than one of transition. So when talking about inclusion, I start with the premise that we are all born “in”.
There are lots of barriers and situations that pull against that premise and I’m sure we can all think of groups, individuals and, even at times, ourselves who have been excluded. Inclusion must therefore also involve overcoming and removing these barriers. Within Scotland , there is plenty of legislation, guidance, organisations and good practice in place trying to achieve just that. For young people within education these include GIFREC , guidance from Education Scotland and the use of coordinated support plans. The aim is to give everyone the same opportunities and experiences but specifically does not mean it’s delivered in the same way to all.
So inclusion means being “in” but but what does this mean in practical terms? I have found John O’Brien’s “Five Service Accomplishments” are really useful way to both describe and measure success in maintaining inclusion. These were created to measure the success of a service and are based on the things people said contributed most to a good quality of life but I see them as an intertwined set of rights and responsibilities. They are:
- · Share ordinary places with others
- · Make real and meaningful choices
- · Grow and develop relationships
- · Been seen as having a valued social role
- · Develop skills and abilities
I use these headings (more subconsciously now) to help formulate and articulate ideas and actions to support my daughter.
I would appreciate your thought, ideas and experiences of what inclusion means and invite you to comment below.