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Inclusive Education

On April 5th 2022, the Ontario Government announced its commitment to Special Education through new investments and partnerships that support students with special education needs, along with their parents. Any investment into education is always positive, but there is still more work to be done to create an inclusive education system. Inclusive education, if you're not familiar, means keeping all children in the same classroom and in the same schools, but providing them with the support needed within the classroom. For example, this could be having educational assistants to help a student who is on the spectrum. Regardless of ability, every student has their own unique needs – the challenge is creating inclusive classrooms in which all these needs can be meet.

One of the ongoing challenges for students with learning disabilities is getting assessed in a timely manner and gaining access to support needed academically. Those with learning disabilities make up the majority of students who require some form of assistance in the classroom yet they continue to be overlooked compared to other students with exceptional needs. Time, money and lack of resources continue to be the biggest factors that hinder the academic needs for students with exceptional needs.

We need to look at the barriers that are preventing students from reaching their full potential through an inclusive lens, and not only remove those barriers but provide learners with equitable and equal support. Children with exceptional needs grow up to be adults with exceptional needs. Therefore we cannot only focus on making the workforce inclusive and continue to neglect our classroom. Canada has made significant progress in recent years but we need to do better. Building the pathway to an inclusive education system is not just about investing more money, it's about taking a panoramic view of the entire system and making changes where needed. The smallest changes can have the biggest impact. If we want a diverse workforce that reflects the many faces of our society, it is time to start investing into inclusive education.

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