In recent times many inclusive schools for Autism in Gurgaon, Delhi and NCR have emerged and many schools are claiming to follow such an approach. So what is Inclusion? It is an approach to educating students with special educational needs. Under the inclusion model, students with special needs spend most or all of their time with non-disabled students. Inclusion rejects the use of special schools or classrooms to separate students with disabilities from students without disabilities. Inclusion gives students with disabilities skills they can use in and out of the classroom.
Inclusive practices celebrate difference and require first and foremost that the child be set at centre stage. Inclusion is based on child’s right to participate and the school’s duty to accept the child. Inclusion rejects the use of special schools or classrooms to separate students with disabilities from students without disabilities. In an inclusive setup, all systems are changed to accommodate the child while in other more typical setups the child is required to adapt in order to fit into the system. In order to ensure access, an inclusive school will work at removing the barriers that stand in the way of any child attending and continuing in school.
Implementation of these practices varies and schools have their version of inclusive practices. Booth and Ainscow in their report on “Understanding and Developing Inclusive Practices in Schools” commented “The attitude of teachers and their understanding of a child’s ability, teaching methodology in classroom, homogeneous assessment practices and high fees, while an integral part of all schools, can be some of the insurmountable barriers to a child with disability”.
Unfortunately in India researchers have discovered that inclusive schools cater mainly, to what they call, ‘soft disabilities’. After completing a survey of 11 ‘inclusive’ schools in Delhi, Dr Nidhi Singal, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, observed, “The very concept of inclusion here is flawed. It is selective and whether or not a special kid will be made a part of the mainstream depends largely on whether the kid ‘looks normal’. Thus, the most number of special kids one encounters in these schools are the visually or hearing impaired because these are ‘soft disabilities’. Teachers do not consider themselves accountable the same way they do for regular kids.”
Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, has made it mandatory to reserve 25 per cent seats for the economically weaker section (EWS) in schools run by the non-state sector, however it still does not take into accounts Autism and related disorders, making it difficult for an Autistic child to seek quality education, As Krishna Kumar (A Pedagogue’s Romance (2008)) explains that the romance and adventure of education lies in the fact that children, like stem cells, have the ability to transform themselves to something far beyond their predicted outcomes.
When a child finds the conventional schooling system difficult to cope with, a few questions arise. Are there any alternative methods? More importantly, is it fair for the child to go through childhood feeling handicapped for no fault of his or hers? The most important learning for me has been that it is possible to help each child learn the way s/he enjoys by using ABA therapy. We must not be disheartened by the fact that maybe for some time the setting for the learning has to be different from the one that “typical” children go to.
With these points in mind let us look at the various schools who claim inclusion:
1) The Shri Ram School, Vasant Vihar
2) Springdales School, Dhaula Kuan
3) St Mary’s School, Safdarjung Enclave
4) The Heritage School
5) Shikshantar School, Gurgaon
7) Scottish High International School
8) Pathways World School, Gurgaon
We will continue to update/upgrade this post in future to provide best information to everyone.