Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Five: Five Quotes That Made Me Think This Week

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
~ Albert Einstein ~

"Inclusion is when you don't have to think about accessibility and accomodations.  They are already there!"
~ unknown source ~

"Integration and Inclusion are not the same, although they are very closely linked. Integration sets out to ensure that the immigrant fits in, speaks the language, obeys the law, works, pays taxes and votes. Inclusion goes a step further, where the immigrant is an active partner in shaping and changing institutions and society. Think of one as participation, the other as ownership. In integration, the onus is for the greater part on the immigrant. Whilst integration asks a great deal of the migrant, inclusion asks the host society to change and shift. Neither integration nor inclusion can happen accidentally or wishfully, they require the discipline of intentions, instruments and investments." 
“Disability is not a brave struggle or ‘courage in the face of adversity. Disability is an art. It’s an ingenious way to live.”
~ Neil Marcus ~

The kids in our classroom are infinitely more significant than the subject matter we teach.
~ Meladee McCarty ~

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday's Weekly Comments: February 2-8, 2011

Prescriptive vs Personalized on the blog For the Love of Learning: An old post from this blog but linked in to what I had been blogging about in regards to medical and social models of disability.

When Compromises Mean Defending the Indefensible, It's Time to Embrace Our Idealism on the blog Cooperative Catalyst:  Great reminded to keep going and not doubt the idealist view I have of inclusion.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The SCERTS Model

This is a workshop that I recently attended...

The SCERTS Model is a comprehensive educational approach for children with Austism Spectrum Disorder.  The focus of the model is to address the core challenges that children on the spectrum will experience (social communication, emotional regulation and transactional supports).  The model is driven by ensuring that a team is in place and the needs of the individual and the family are being supported.  Behaviours are seen as a result of lagging skills and the way to deal with behaviours is by ensuring the proper supports and learning opportunties are in place.  If behaviours continue you look to see what additional supports may be needed or what additional skills need to be taught.  This model is almost a formalization of what I have been focusing on in my classroom for years now and I was very affirmed while attending this workhop.  I know this is horrible but my biggest take away from this workshop is related to how hard it is to sit and listen to someone speak for three full days.  The whole workshop was sit and get and really made me think about how ineffective we are in schools.  Many workshops that I've attended lately have allowed time for collaboration but this one didn't.  I would have loved to have had time built right in to the workshop to talk with others about what we were learning as I think it would have expanded what we were bringing away.  Made the note to myself in case I end up back in a "regular classroom" next year.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Medical vs Social Models of Disability

I was reading the blog Accessibility NZ this morning and stubled across this great little chart that compares the social and medical model of disability. A lot of the Alberta Education Setting the Direction material refers to the concept of moving away from a "Medical Model of Disability" but there seems to be little definition in this material around what this means. I think most people do have an idea of what it means but finding a nice simple chart that explains it is always kind of a bonus. Here is the chart:

Comparing Social and Medical Models of Disability
Medical ModelSocial Model
Disability is abnormal. Disability is different.
Having a disability is negative. Having a disability is neutral.
Disability is found in the individual. Disability is found in the interaction between the individual and a non-accessible society.
Cure or the individual's normalisation is the way to fix the "problem" Change to society is the way to fix the "problem".
The person who can fix the "problem" is the professional (doctor, social worker, etc). The individual, an advocate, or anyone who affects the arrangements between the individual and society can fix the "problem"

As I looked at this chart it struck me that the second column almost creates a type of "continuum of change towards inclusive education".  It seems that you almost need to believe the first line before the second line is believable and so on all the way down the chart.  I know many people completely buy in to the first couple of statements but when it comes to the later ones (the ones that require work) there are less people.  The idea gives me hope though becuase it shows me that there has been movement and hope is something I need today because I'm feeling a bit beat down by some of the happenings of this week.  There are days where I question if what I'm after is just too big.  But then I wake up the next morning with a restored faith in humanity and know that we have the potential to get there.

I was reading another great blog post this week ( and particularly love this line: "But I focused on the message that the missiong of the school was to educate him in a way that was effective as opposed to convenient."  This statement really seems to be at the heart of it for me.  Buying in to a medical model of disability (or of schooling really) makes it about convenience.  Buying in to a social model of disability (or of schooling really) makes it about what is effective and therefore makes it about learning.  It is much harder to think in terms of what is effective but it would come closer to ensuring that the focus of schools was learning!