Students also need those same supports around them as well. This quote
adapted from Petroglyphs: The Writing on the Wall; University of
New Hampshire brings that thought into focus.
We used to think students with disabilities didn't need guidance
counselors…Or lockers, or notebooks, or an excuse for being late to class.
We used to think students with disabilities couldn't be sent to
the principal's office. Didn't need transcripts. Couldn't make the team.
When students needed to practice communication skills we sent them
to the speech room--we forgot about the cafeteria.
When students got sick, the special education teacher called
home--we forgot about the school nurse.
And when classmates were getting homework
assignments, we forgot to give students with disabilities anything at
We now know about natural supports. And that ‘only as special as
necessary' are the words to live to by. We know about people, places, places and
things that support all students. So instead of paraeducators being
assigned to students, instructional assistants are assigned to classrooms. And
instead of just
progress notes, all students get report cards. We now know that including
students without natural supports just moves the self-contained classroom into
regular education. It only changes the place where supports are provided. Not
the way. Not the who. Not the how.