FAQs from Families
1. As a parent of a child without a disability, will including students with disabilities have a negative impact on my child’s education?
It sometimes seems that having children with disabilities in general education classrooms may take the teachers’ attention away from your child and his or education may suffer as a result. This has not been found to be the case. Research has consistently demonstrated that the academic performance of students without disabilities is not compromised by the presence of students with disabilities in the classroom. In other words, effective instructional practices benefit all learners.
2. What are the various ways (models of support) that schools can provide supports for my child in inclusive settings?
Schools support students with disabilities in different ways, according to their individual needs and Individual Educational Plan (IEP) goals. Teachers can support students with diverse learning needs through a variety of effective instructional approaches including, but not limited to, universal design for learning, differentiating instruction, providing accommodations and/or modifications, and collaborative teaching. Decisions about how to support your child are always made in collaboration with family members during IEP team meeting(s).
3. What do I do when my child’s school won’t agree to provide my child with opportunities to learn in inclusive classrooms and other settings?
It is important for families to directly contact their child’s teacher(s), guidance counselor, staffing specialist, or school administrator to discuss any specific concerns they have about their child’s education.
If you are unable to resolve related to inclusion for your child, you may contact the district’s ESE office. All school districts have procedures in place to assist families in resolving disputes.
Communication between schools and families is a critical component to making inclusion work for any child. Some effective strategies for communicating important information about your child may include:
- Know your child well and find ways to share what you know.
- Know your child’s rights and what the law requires.
- Know school staff and their responsibilities for your child.
- Know how to communicate effectively and work positively with all school staff.
- Believe that your voice and your child are important!
FIN’s Family FACT Folios offer some great ideas for communicating your thoughts and working collaboratively with your school. For more information, download the family Communication Tips document from the FIN website: http://www.floridainclusionnetwork.com/
4. My child has been in a separate class until this year. This year he is included in the general education classroom for part of the day. I don’t think he is doing very well. What can I do?
When families feel that appropriate services are not being provided to their child, or have questions about their child’s progress in the general education classroom, they are encouraged to work together with their child’s IEP team. Again, it is important for families to directly contact their child’s teacher(s), guidance counselor, staffing specialist, or school administrator to discuss and resolve specific concerns.
FIN has several resources especially for families that provide strategies for communicating and collaborating with schools to support inclusive education for their child. Please click on the following resources for more information:
- Communication Tips
- Family FACT Folio, Volume 2: Speaking Up and Working With Others to Include Your Child
- Family FACT Folio, Volume 3: Is Your Child’s School Inclusive?
- Family FACT Folio, Volume 4: Inclusive Classrooms, Is your Child IN or WITH?
5. Why should schools include students with disabilities in general education classrooms and other settings?
For students with disabilities, inclusion can improve social and communication skills; provide greater access to the general education curriculum, and, thus, increase academic achievement. Students with disabilities who are included throughout their school years develop stronger connections to other students without disabilities through participation in classroom academic learning activities and non-academic school and community-based activities, like social gatherings, field trips, and football games. When students with disabilities have opportunities to form relationships with same-age peers without disabilities, they can create mutual bonds that may last a lifetime!
6. What can FIN do for families?
The Florida Inclusion Network (FIN) offers free resources and support related to the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classrooms and other natural settings.
While FIN facilitators do not attend IEP meetings they can provide useful information about the following: effective inclusive practices, family-school collaboration and communication, opportunities for networking with other families, and ways to access local resources and support. For information about your child’s educational program or Individual Education Plan (IEP), please contact your child’s teacher or school administrator.
When families contact FIN for direct support and assistance, facilitators can provide families with a variety of information and resources and may, upon request, contact the district’s exceptional student education (ESE) office or school to discuss concerns on behalf of the family. Family concerns and needs are always carefully considered as part of FIN’s planning and problem-solving with schools and/or districts.
7. When will my school do the Best Practices for Inclusive Education (BPIE) assessment and how can I get involved?
Each school will be conducting its own BPIE assessment in collaboration with FIN and the district’s ESE office. If you are interested in participating in your school’s BPIE assessment process, please contact your school principal to let him or her know of your interest.
For more information on the Florida law requiring districts and schools to complete a BPIE, please click on the following link: