A central goal of the New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education (NJCIE) is to mentor parents. This Inclusion Works! Parent Manual (Manual) arose out of NJCIE’s work with parents in connection with its Inclusion Works! Parent Group Mentoring Project supported, in part, by a grant from the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities.1 One purpose of the Inclusion Works! Project was to create local problem-solving groups of parents focused on including their children in general education settings in their local public schools. The Inclusion Works! Parent Groups are now an integral part of NJCIE’s activities.
This Manual contains tips and information that NJCIE mentors and parent group members have found useful in ensuring more inclusive placements for their children. It clarifies some of the history, processes, and jargon surrounding special education and inclusion. The Manual provides an overview of updated research-based inclusive practices considered essential for the success of all children in our increasingly multi-ability classrooms. Inclusion is no longer a stand- alone concept. Educational experts across the country consider inclusive practices (i.e., those practices which enable children with disabilities and learning differences to make progress in their individual goals while accessing classroom curriculum) part and parcel of school reform. Parents working with their district to include their child can emphasize that, “What you do for my child will help all children!”
Note that this Manual is not meant to be comprehensive guide to special education, to the law and regulations, or to parental due process rights via mediation, complaint process or litigation. This information is amply covered in other sources. It does provide information as to where such resources can be found.