Reflection About Reflection

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Reflection Paper: My Experiences, Thoughts and Feelings about Inclusion My view of inclusion has become stronger since the beginning of this course. This course has helped me put into words, what I have been feeling for quite a while. The idea and the concept of inclusion was identified and defined. It has helped me realize that inclusion is a lifestyle that must be chosen by advocates of individuals with disabilities. Inclusion is not a privilege, but a right, to all individuals with disabilities. That right is not just in the classroom, but in society as well. Inclusion should begin with the terminology that uplifts an individual’s value and capabilities. I struggle with quantifying an individual’s disabilities as mild to severe. Those terms usually emphasize the deficits instead of the abilities and do not describe a person as an individual but as their deficits. Inclusion means the act of being included. But inclusion does not necessarily mean acceptance. An individual with disabilities can be included within a social or academic environment, but not accepted. Students can be included in a classroom or situation, but not accepted, if individuals with disabilities are not valued by their teachers or peers. When individuals with disabilities are included, valued, and accepted, then there is true inclusion. My brother has an intellectual disability. He was born in the Dominican Republic in the early 1960’s. During that time and in that country, individuals with intellectual disabilities were placed in institutions. My parents, seeking a better environment for him, moved to Puerto Rico in the mid to late 1960’s. He was placed in an institution during the week and came home on the weekends. When we moved to Miami in the mid-70’s, he lived at home with us. He would go to a special school because he was not allowed to go to a public school. From very young age I was taught that he would be around, but not really valued, and that he belonged in a special place just for him. Not because that was the best place for him, but because it was the only acceptable place for him. My brother was always included in our family activities, but I do not believe he was ever truly
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