The Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities
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The Top Questions Asked About Inclusive Education

Patrick Schwarz

Question Nine: Don't kids with disabilities learn better in a quiet place separate from all the noise of a general classroom?

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Patrick Schwarz: Don't kids with disabilities learn better in a quiet place separate from all the noise of a general classroom?This is Max, and one of the things that Max had on his IEP that he will be pulled out of the classroom for doing work. And that's a little tough because he kind of ended up being more of a visitor to the classroom every time you get pulled out. And one day he was being pulled out of the general classroom and the teacher saw him struggling. He didn't want to leave the classroom and that bothered her, and he ended up going out.

And so what she did, the teacher did, is she changed the rules the next day for students. And this was a wonderful thing. So she said, Students, right now we're doing your assignment and here are your options. You can work alone at your desk, you can work in your desk area with another person if you talk just above a whisper. You can work in the floor area with yourself or you can work with another student if it's just above a whisper, or Mrs. C. is going down to the library. If you would like to go to the library to do your work, you can let me know and you'll go with Mrs. C.

And so we gave all students an option of working in a place separate from the classroom. And thinking about that is, what happened is one day Max didn't want to go to the library that particular day and here's what the teacher said, Mrs. C., it will be fine. Max will stay here with me, you please take all the students that want to go to the library, to the library. Guess what? Max did just fine.

And here's what those teachers should be doing. They should be patting themselves on the back because has Max opened the door that he can work in more places than just a quiet place at this point? They should be saying, Wow, he's making learner gains. He's able to do things in greater and different ways. Isn't that wonderful? We need to celebrate that. And I think about adults that perhaps go to college and think about you can work in a very quiet library. You can work in a library where you can do some talking. You could work in a social place where people have beverages and music and things like that. You can work in a place where they might be comfortable furniture - all those things. And isn't it better to give people options for how they do their work so you can create the most optimum learning situation.

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The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center, the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.