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A cross-cultural study of inclusive education and its impact on families and students with disabilities. Elizabeth Kozleski, National Institute for Urban School Improvement Robyn Hess, University of Northern Colorado
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Elizabeth Kozleski, National Institute for Urban School Improvement
Robyn Hess, University of Northern Colorado
Petra Engelbrecht, Marietjie Oswald, Estelle Swart, University of Stellenbosch
Irma Eloff, University of Pretoria
Tell us about your experiences as parents of your child’s inclusion in a mainstream classroom and school.
"combines symmetry and substance with an infinite variety of shapes, substances, transmutations, multidimentionalities, and angles of approach. Crystals grow, change and alter, but are not amorphous" (Richardson, 2000: 934).
“Yo a veces le digo a mi niño que si le ayudo y el me dice: no usted no sabe y como él puro ingles escribe en el papel me dice no, usted no sabe y él se pone solito.”
Sometimes I tell my son that I will help him with his homework: he says “no, you don’t know how”...and since he writes only in English, he tells me “no” and goes off by himself to work. (translated from Spanish)
“No tenía ayuda suficiente y se me hacía que no le estaban poniendo la atención que necesitaba, entonces yo y mi esposo vimos que no aprendía nada.
Nos decía la maestra que estaba bien y que si aprendía, pero no era lo que yo realmente quería oír...hablé con ella pero este..... nunca me dio respuestas, las que yo quería oír.....que nunca le ponía atención salvo cuando le pedía ayuda.”
She wasn’t learning in 1st grade and even though I talked to the teacher about my concerns she said that everything was fine; she never gave me the answers I was looking for. She didn’t pay María any attention unless sheasked for help.” (translated and paraphrased from Spanish)
“Give me some things…bring some things home. Let me know what’s going on at school. I would like to even have a lesson plan of what they’re gonna do this week. Or, what are the goals for this month? What the teacher is hoping to achieve for the month as far as learning with the kids.”
¿No sabes que pruebas le aplicaron?
¿No te explicaron los resultados de los exámenes?
“No, nada mas lo llevé lo llevé ahí me despacharon de aquí para allá.”
“It was really difficult for me to sit through IEP meetings and different people would start talking speech jibberish, different people would say things, and I would sit there and I would really try to focus on what’s going on. But I would take that paper home, and I’d look at it and I’d be thinking what in the world just transpired. It took me pretty, several years, before I realized, I am his advocate. I have to speak up and say okay wait a minute, slow down, what does that mean, what did you say?”
“I learned it wasn’t me…it’s just part of life. So to me…I worry about my son constantly. I worry. I worry. I worry because I know my son. I worry about him when he’s here, what he’s doing. But I have to umm…get over that because I can’t shield him from everything. I can’t protect him from everything regardless of what is going on he still has to like, I said, go out there in society and I have to let him do it. I have to let him get out there and do it and it scares me because I know what he’s going through but at the same time I feel, umm…that it’s something he needs.”
“And I don’t know what will happen when we move on to (name of middle school), going to have to think about that. Kind of just do one year at a time. It’s too hard to think about the future.”
“Umm…to me this has all been overwhelming from the first day I found out that my son needed special attention. At first it broke my heart because I thought it was me. I was like, well, what didn’t I do? What didn’t I do as his mother and his provider?”
“ … Being so included and speaking so well and does everything his peer, do, the disabled schools and special schools would just not work because they just would not stimulate him enough intellectually for what he could do. ”
“They need to get used to the idea of having children with disabilities in all schools because in the past these children were put away – nobody knows that they were there.”
Eloff, I., Engelbrecht, P., Kozleski, E., Oswald, M., Swart, E. & Yssel, N. (2002). Epistemological and methodological issues in a transatlantic research project on inclusive education. AARE, 1-5 December 2002, Brisbane, Australia .
Engelbrecht, P., Swart, E., Eloff, I., & Oswald, M. (2005). Parents’ experiences of inclusive education. AERA: Montreal Meeting.
Engelbrecht, P., Oswald, M., Swart, E., Kitching, A., & Eloff, I.(2005). Parents’ experiences of their rights in the implementation of inclusive education in South Africa. School Psychology International, 26, (x).
Hess, R., Kozleski, E.B. & Molina, A. (2005). Until somebody hears me: Parental voice and advocacy in special education decision-making. AERA: Montreal Meeting.
Swart, E., Engelbrecht, P., Eloff, I., Pettipher, R., & Oswald, M. (2004). Developing inclusive school communities: Voices of parents of children with disabilities.