2016 TASH Conference has ended
Each year, the TASH Conference strengthens the disability field by connecting attendees to innovative information and resources, facilitating connections between stakeholders within the disability movement, and helping attendees reignite their passion for an inclusive world. This year’s conference theme, “Gateway to Equity,” explores inclusive communities, schools, and workplaces that support people with disabilities, including those with complex support needs, in living a fair, just, and balanced life. Return to TASH website.
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Friday, December 2 • 2:30pm - 3:20pm
The Transition to Increased Inclusion at an Urban Elementary School LIMITED

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Limited Capacity seats available

The purpose of this study is to analyze how an urban school district is implementing increased inclusive education practices for students with moderate-severe disabilities at one elementary school. Our research questions investigate the attitudes and perceptions of teachers and administrators regarding the transition of their school to increased inclusion as well strategies they have employed to navigate this restructuring process. Of additional interest is how school climate and leadership practices impact attitudes and practices at the school. In our analysis, we discovered that: (a) schools underwent a process of moving from a climate of fear to normalization, with students in some cases progressing through this process faster than educators, (b) assumptions that students with disabilities operate in a diminished capacity (i.e. are incapable) persist in spite of evidence to the contrary, (c) older students with disabilities were sometimes matched with students in much lower grade levels, (d) relatedly, teachers expressed that inclusion works best with the right mix of students, (e) social-emotional gains were recognized for all students, and (f) early professional development for educators and awareness training for students was identified as highly effective but faded after the first year and ultimately vanished. This indicates the need for the development of ongoing professional development that is sustainable in order to benefit incoming kindergarteners as well as newly arrived teachers. Additionally, teacher concerns regarding the diminishment of resources as well as teacher perceptions of competency of students with disabilities should be addressed. By the end of the session, participants will be able to a) identify potential challenges related to increasing inclusion for students with severe disabilities as well as ways in which these challenges have been and can be addressed b) discuss the fostering of "least restrictive attitudes" which researcher Susan Baglieri has identified as being essential for successful inclusion to take place c) generate ideas for future research related to inclusion d) make suggestions for improved professional development on the topic of inclusion for teachers and other educational professionals

avatar for Bryan Thornton

Bryan Thornton

Bryan Thornton is a doctoral student in special education at the University of California, Los Angeles in a program offered jointly with California State University, Los Angeles. His research interests are informed by 12 years of experience as a special education teacher with the... Read More →

Friday December 2, 2016 2:30pm - 3:20pm CST
Midway Suites II 1820 Market Street, St. Louis, MO 63103