“What is inclusion?” NDSS Inclusive Education Task Force
“Disability has a history of segregation, why do we have to repeat it?” – David Egan, NDSS Inclusive Education Task Force Co-Chair
Inclusion means that ALL students are accepted as equal in rights and as members of their community. The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) does not believe in segregated environments as placement (primary or partial) for any student. While no two students are alike in skills and talents, each and every student has the right to be a fully accepted and active member of their school participating along with their peers in all the activities, instructional and non-instructional, matching their talents with appropriate supports to help them reach their full potential.
True Inclusive Education environments have educational services such as PT, OT and speech in the general education classroom. Inclusive Education environments create collaboration amongst the interdisciplinary team of teachers, staff, therapists and all students, resulting in improved learning for all. To that extent, inclusion is a must not only for students with intellectual disabilities, but for all students, as the benefits of inclusion have been shown to be as powerful for those with and those without disabilities in preparing them to be responsible, productive members of our society and American citizens.
Inclusive Education prepares individuals for success as self-determined adult citizens in the work force and community. Individuals with Down syndrome are working, getting married, serving on boards, volunteering and otherwise reaching their full potential as adults in their communities, and the educational setting should prepare them for such experiences. NDSS believes in inclusion rather than segregation as a general practice.