On May 12th at a special plenary federal panel (right) at the 2015 Inclusion Institute, the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services debuted a draft policy statement with recommendations to states, local educational agencies, schools, and public and private early childhood programs for increasing the inclusion of infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities in high-quality early childhood programs. Both departments invited public comment about the statement through May 22 at http://www.ed.gov/edblogs/osers/.
“The federal interagency policy statement on inclusion is a significant milestone for all of us in the field of early development and education,” said FPG senior scientist Pamela J. Winton. “By building upon the 2009 position statement on inclusion developed by the two early childhood professional organizations, the Division for Early Childhood and the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the recommendations in the new policy statement solidify the federal commitment to moving the implementation of inclusion beyond the current status quo.”
The new draft policy statement defines inclusion as the practice of including children with disabilities (regardless of the level of disability) in early childhood programs with their peers without disabilities. The statement recaps research in support of inclusion’s benefits to children with and without disabilities, outlines the legal foundation for inclusion, points out specific challenges to inclusion, and makes several state and system recommendations.“
What we know from implementation science suggests much work needs to be done to ensure the statement is more than just another piece of paper,” said Winton, who chairs the Inclusion Institute. “‘Who is in charge of next steps?’ and ‘How do we mobilize the passion and energy of individuals and groups on this topic?’ is an interesting set of questions that I hope can be addressed by leaders in the field.”
Source: FPG Child Development Institute
Available at: http://fpg.unc.edu/node/7744