The past 6 months have been unprecedented and the full, or partial, closure of schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged school staff, children and their families as we have all adjusted to teaching and learning from home. Children with intellectual disabilities have been particularly impacted by the pandemic, with the increased social distancing measures meaning that they and their families have been unable to have access to the essential support they require on a day to day basis both in school and at home. As a result of this, we have seen a rise in the number of children with intellectual disabilities who have been unable to learn alongside their peers who do not have a disability.
Due to a number of factors, children with intellectual disabilities are already at greater risk of being excluded from classrooms in mainstream schools. Teachers are often unable to access the resources they need to meet the differing needs of all of the children in their classroom, while parents also struggle to receive the support that they need to help their children maximise their potential. By communicating and working together partners, teachers and children can often better understand each other’s needs and work together for the benefit for all. As a result, the relationship between teachers, parents and children is a key partnership in creating more inclusive learning environments.
To support your school with the increased inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities, the partners of the IE+ project have launched a new awareness raising campaign, that we hope can support your teachers and parents of children with intellectual disabilities.
The campaign offers 6 steps to promote cooperation between teachers and parents and encourage increased communication both during this time when children may be required to learn remotely and once they are back in the classroom.
As well as providing tips on how parents and teachers can better work in partnership together the campaign suggests an initial activity to help start a conversation between teachers, parents and children on their vision for the classroom. This activity can be done together with the teacher, child and parent or can be completed with the involvement of an entire class, to promote a joint vision for a more inclusive classroom. To kick start the campaign the partners of the IE+ project are inviting classes to submit their vision of a dream classroom, in any form they wish (for example via a collage, written text, video, drawing) to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured in our IE+ Co-production Manual and win a professional class photoshoot with your students and teacher.
For any questions contact rachel.vaughan(at)easpd.eu