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The Inclusive Classroom Debate

September marks the start of a brand new school year for many students, however, for some parents, it represents uncertainty. For parents of children with developmental and intellectual disabilities, finding a school that is the right fit for their child can be quite the challenge.

Inclusive Classroom

The Star recently published an article documenting two different parent's experiences with the Toronto District School Board. One parent, Sarah Patterson, talked about the need to make an effort to prove to others, especially TDSB, that her then 3-year-old son, Landon, was a "typical" child despite having autism and according to Sarah, "functions at the level of a 2- or 3-year-old." The answer to Landon's schooling was the Beverley School, a congregated facility dedicated to students with disabilities.

Another parent, Marcy White, talked about a different experience with finding a school that has the resources and support systems necessary to help her sixth grade son Jacob Trossman, who has an incurable neurodegenerative illness and uses a wheelchair. In addition, Jacob is unable to talk thus needing proper care a lot of the time. Some schools simply do not have the resources to accommodate Jacob. While the congregated system worked for Landon, it won't work for Jacob.

CACL initiative Inclusive Education Canada and other similar organizations advocate for inclusive education, which urges for a closer look at how we design our education systems in a way that all students could participate without any complications. Debates about congregated and integrated education aside,  Marcy's and Sarah's stories opens the doors to a bigger problem: there is a serious lack of resources for accommodating students with disabilities. However, things look like they could be improving, in April, the  government of Ontario has announced it will put forth $2.7 billion in funding specialeducation for the new school year.

Read more about CACLs initiative on Inclusive Education at