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The Teacher's Knowledge

The issue:
Parents need to understand that teachers may have different levels of understanding and training regarding learning disabilities or other special needs, and that teachers require additional support to enable them to serve their students appropriately.

The solution:
Parents need to accept the fact the some teachers, especially "mature" regular-classroom educators, who are working in inclusive settings for the first time, may have had little or no training in how to work with children with special needs. This is frustrating, and, of course, parents want to insure that all people working with their children have the necessary training and skills. Since the inclusion movement has hit schools quickly and has sometimes caught teachers unaware, parents need to be somewhat tolerant of gaps in learning or knowledge of specialized techniques.

Do what you can to find out what kinds of staff development related to special education have been provided or are planned for your child's teachers (and the administration). Parents might want to ask the teacher if the training is sufficient to meet their needs, and what more it would take for that to happen. Then parents can work together with the school to find grant funding or other resources to support the training and consultation necessary for inclusion to be something other than intrusion or delusion.

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