Highlighting inclusive education as a human rights issue

February 01, 2019

Every day 40,000 children spend most or all of their day outside the regular classroom in Ontario.

The reason – their intellectual ability.

February is Inclusive Education Month in Canada. The Faculty of Education and the Canadian Research Centre on Inclusive Education are raising awareness about how inclusive schools help provide quality education to students with an intellectual disability. They’re also stressing that more work needs to be done to ensure inclusion takes place in the school system.

“Disability is the last bastion of human rights that we need to ensure,” said Western Education professor and Director of the Canadian Research Centre on Inclusive Education, Jacqueline Specht. “Inclusion is about getting kids what they need in the regular classroom. If they’re not getting what they need, it’s not inclusion.”

Research supports inclusive education

As part of raising awareness, the Faculty and Centre are hosting a film screening of ‘Intelligent Lives.’ It stars three pioneering young American adults with intellectual disabilities – Micah, Naieer and Naomie – who challenge perceptions of intelligence as they navigate high school, college and the workforce.

After the film, Professor Specht will lead a Question and Answer session regarding how teachers and school administrators can enhance inclusion in schools.

“When developing inclusive schools, it has to be done properly,” said Specht. “As other stakeholders have pointed out, inclusion is easy to do poorly. When it’s done poorly, we reinforce the belief that it cannot work. However, inclusion works when done properly. The research supports that.”

Filmmaker advocates for inclusive education

Dan Habib, an award-winning documentary filmmaker on disability-related issues, produced ‘Intelligent Lives.’ His previous work has been nominated for an Emmy Award in 2010 and 2013 and he’s been featured on ‘Good Morning America,’ ‘The Washington Post’ and in ‘Exceptional Parent Magazine.’

In 2014, President Barack Obama appointed Habib to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities – a committee that promotes policies and initiatives that support independence and lifelong inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.

‘Intelligent lives’

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Faculty of Education Building
Room 1139

Elborn College (free)
Faculty of Education (paid)

Cost – Free

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