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Becoming a Great Inclusive Educator

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Edited By Scot Danforth

Inclusive education continues to grow in popularity and acceptance in the United States. However, most teachers – general and special educators – are poorly prepared to be successful in inclusive classrooms and schools. Undoubtedly, the challenge to professionals involves the acquisition of new knowledge and skills. But inclusion requires far more. It calls upon educators to trouble everything they think they know about disability, to question their deepest ethical commitments, to take up the work of the Disability Rights Movement in the public schools, and to leap headlong into the deepest waters of the rich craft tradition of inclusive teaching. This book offers educators the guidance and resources to become great inclusive educators by engaging in a powerful process of personal and professional transformation.
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Chapter 18: Including Talia: A Mother’s Tale

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CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

Including Talia: A Mother’s Tale

KATHY KOTEL



After a busy morning of packing up school supplies, making lunches, taking pictures, and sending my three kids off to another first day of school, I realized that the anxious feeling I usually have on the first day was not there. Most mothers are somewhat excited about having some peace and quiet and the opportunity to get their houses back in order after a fun-filled summer. I feel that excitement too, but I also feel anxious at the beginning of each school year. My daughter Talia was born with Down syndrome and with the start of each school year comes the fear of the unknown. Will her teachers understand her? Will other kids make fun of her? Will she receive the appropriate support, accommodations, and modifications? Will she be challenged, but not overwhelmed? Most important, will she learn and have fun?

All the years of uncertainty led my daughter and me to that day. It was her first day of fifth grade and she was still fully included. When she entered kindergarten I hoped that she would be included through second grade. I never really thought much beyond that. That day I was so proud of her and all that she accomplished throughout the years. I felt secure and relieved knowing that the previous five years had successfully prepared her for fifth grade and as a parent I...

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