What can inclusion look like? In our last post on including therapy sessions in the classroom, we talked about the range of service delivery models, from individual, pull-out sessions, to providing individual support within the classroom routine. In this post, we share two references that discuss what inclusion can look like in the school setting.
In the July 8th OT Practice magazine, the feature article “Successful Learning: Effects of Small Group Intervention for Students With Significant Intellectual Disabilities” described a program that fell along the range of inclusion levels. The therapist created a group occupational therapy intervention that was provided within the routine, an art class, that occurred in the special education classroom. The author found that an increase in the skills she was targeting in her intervention, both within the therapy session and in the special education classroom. She indicated that there were several factors that supported this in-class, small group model of inclusion. These factors were: collaborative consultation, occupation-based activities in the natural environment, and parental satisfaction.
The American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) has published a paper, titled “A Model for Collaborative Service Delivery for Students With Language-Learning Disorders in the Public Schools.” In this practice policy, a model of inclusion called “collaborative service delivery” is described. In this model, all members of the IEP team work together in a transdisciplinary mode, as opposed to a multidisciplinary team – where each profession works independently of one another, or a interdisciplinary team – where discussion occurs, but little to no shared decision making, This paper describes the purposes of this model as allowing for collaboration among professions, supporting students at all educational levels, generalization of learned skills, in a natural setting, and investing team members in the process. The underlying factors believed to be necessary for this model to be successful are: administrative support, team member cooperation, and adjusted perception of the role of the speech therapist.
In these two publications, we can start to see some of the themes that arise when we begin shifting services along the array of inclusion.
1. Collaborative consultation
2. Authentic and natural environment
3. Parent perception
4. Administrative support
6. Change in how therapists are perceived
How does this relate to your own experience with inclusion? Do you see these as barriers or supports to your inclusion practice?