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- General DS Information
The MDSC is a staunch advocate for students with Down syndrome having access to a high-quality education with meaningful learning experiences that properly prepares them for post-secondary education opportunities, employment, and independent-living. This kind of education, we believe, is best achieved when schools adhere to the principles of what the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) calls an inclusive education,defined as:
“the practice of welcoming, valuing, empowering and supporting diverse academic and social learning among students of all abilities.”
According to NDSS, inclusion is:
“based on the belief in every person’s inherent right to fully participate in society. It implies acceptance of differences and access to the educational experiences that are fundamental to every student’s development.”
In 1996, the MDSC’s national organization conducted a study on the impact of inclusion on students with Down syndrome. According to the results, the students at schools that put inclusionary principles into practice benefited in a number of ways compared to other students. They showed:
What makes an inclusive school?
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Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.
~ John Dewey
Inclusion is a right, not a special privilege for a select few."
~ Oberti v. Board of Education
In the inclusive systems we are talking about building administrators and educators believing that all students can learn, and educators have the skills, knowledge, and dispositions to teach all students. Ferguson, Kozleski, Smith, 2005