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The Importance of Inclusion

What Victorian students have to say about inclusive education
We’re here today to talk about inclusive education for students with disabilities across all areas of school. In particular, we’re here to hear from students themselves about what inclusive education means to them. So inclusion’s important because people with different disabilities and different conditions have different skills, different perspectives that need to be heard. In education, we want every student to succeed in their own way and to the best of their ability. Inclusion is important because we need to value everyone as an equal. It’s important to understand people have different cultures and diversities. Well, for me, it means that everyone gets to be involved. There’s more fun with activities and everyone feels included.
And everybody embraces everyone’s diversity– Because everyone has the right to be included. To create an environment for the best of each other, e.g. sports and debate teams. Inclusion is a really good way to support not just at school but at home and in the community. Gives everyone a chance to achieve their goal. To have more opportunities in many other things such as getting a job and living independently. Inclusion is important to me because everyone belongs in a part of a whole. Also means that you get to make new friends and get to know each other. It allows students who have an amalgamation of different abilities to prosper in their own way.
But everybody [INAUDIBLE] to belong no matter if you’re disabled, autistic, or just normal. And we want to play to every individual’s strengths.

Supporting students with additional needs starts with inclusion.

Over the past forty years, schools all around the world have shifted their approach around accommodating students with additional needs. In the past, schools aimed to integrate these students to greater or lesser degrees. Now, schools are aiming for complete inclusion, maximising students’ genuine and full participation in school life.

The Victorian Department of Education and Training’s ‘Education For All’ policy gives schools clear requirements for inclusivity. According to this policy, inclusive education:

  • Ensures that students with disability are not discriminated against and are accommodated to participate in education on the same basis as their peers; acknowledges and responds to the diverse needs, identities, and strengths of all students;
  • Occurs when students with disabilities and additional needs are treated with respect and are involved in making decisions about their education;
  • Benefits students of all abilities in the classroom and fosters positive cultural change in attitudes and beliefs about disability, in and beyond the school environment; and
  • Contributes to positive learning, engagement and wellbeing outcomes for students.

The following infographic was produced during a focus group with Victorian students who have additional needs. Read through the infographic and answer the questions in the discussion below.

Infographic sketch showing quotes about what inclusivity means

Join the Discussion

  • List one thing noted in the infographic that you already do as an educator.
  • List one thing noted in the infographic that you could do better.
  • List one thing noted in the infographic that surprised you?
Share your answer in the Comments section below and click the Mark as complete button to check this step off before continuing to the next step.
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