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(Canada)) Globe and Mail comment on how SPED has changed "dramatically" over recent decades

Updated: Jan 31, 2019

Jan 7, 2019, Globe and Mail: From the comments: Has inclusive education gone too far? Educators and parents share their experiences Today, readers are discussing Caroline Alphonso’s Saturday feature, Educating Grayson: Are inclusive classrooms failing students? The issue of inclusive classrooms has become a matter of fierce debate – and some educators wonder if inclusion has gone too far for students with very complex needs. We asked readers to share their personal stories about inclusive education in the comments and received hundreds of responses. We’ve selected a few to share, and encourage you to explore the full discussion here. Second grader Grayson Kahn was diagnosed with autism in 2017. He was expelled from school for striking an educational assistant. He now stays at the family home in Guelph, Ont., getting private instruction from the school district while his parents appeal the expulsion. MICHELLE SIU/THE GLOBE AND MAIL In 2018, I retired after 17+ years as an Educational Assistant (EA) in elementary schools. Over those years my job changed dramatically; from helping students (with varying needs) achieve their potential in class, to keeping students with often volatile behaviours from being a threat to others while in a “regular” classroom. People should pay note to the statistic that roughly 16 per cent of children have special needs. That is almost one in five. My wife is a kindergarten teacher with the Toronto District School Board. In a class of almost 30, she has five kids with some form of autism - that’s consistent with the 16 per cent average. She has one Educational Assistant. With five children with special needs and only one EA, she cannot teach. All she can do is perform damage control. She has two kids who are violent. Parents of other children routinely report that their children are frightened to attend school - and with good reason. The situation in her classroom is every bit as bad as described in this article. …- Andrew Bell … The story mentions at the beginning that Grayson's mother would brace herself every school day for the phone call. I wonder if parents of Grayson's classmates also braced themselves for a phone call? It's one thing to be inclusive, it's another thing to make accommodations for a student whose special needs puts others at risk. Sometimes, the reality is: some students really do need specialized education. - Not the Alliance … As a parent of a son with a disability, I can say for us, inclusion in elementary school didn’t work. My son didn’t have behavioural problems, but spent most of the day not having a clue what was going on. His EA support was often removed without warning and provided to kids who had behavioural issues instead. …
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