Friday, September 5, 2008

Global Mindset and Inclusion of students with disabilities

The following is from Jim Fennell, a Staff Sports Writer at the Union Leader of New Hampshire.

"Including Samuel" is the personal journey of Dan Habib and his family -- his wife, Betsy McNamara, and two sons, Isaiah and Samuel -- told over four years. At the heart of the story is the family's support of Samuel, who has a rare form of cerebral palsy, a disorder that makes it difficult for the brain to control the body's muscles. It's about their efforts to make him part of educational and recreational activities open to kids without physical or emotional disabilities.

The film tells not only the story of Samuel, but also of four other people with disabilities. There is a balance between the positive and negative aspects of inclusion that reveals Habib's journalistic background. Some of the greatest advocates to emerge from the film are the students without disabilities whom Habib interviews.

"I really want every school to be welcoming to all kids," he said. "It's all about problem solving. It's about saying this is a value that we embrace, that we want our school to have the diversity of kids of all abilities. I honestly believe that's part of the natural diversity of our society, but a lot of schools are challenged by that, so you have to get together and say how do we do this well".

Simply stated, Including Samuel is a must see…for anyone who wants to develop a "Global Mindset" and wants and/or needs an in-depth look into the concept, current practice and real-life experience of inclusion and integration for those with disabilities. “Sometimes students with disabilities are the low-hanging fruit. They’re the ones that people pick on and say ‘they’re too expensive.” Some children are going to require more resources to learn than other children. And that is part of America. And that is where it becomes a civil rights issue. ” (Jan Nisbet, director of the UNH institute, cited in Business Week)

So readers, how do you feel about “inclusion”—is it the next civil rights issue and does it relate to having a "Global Mindset"?

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