Before Frankie I might’ve panicked if my typical son had been placed in an inclusion classroom. I didn’t have any personal experience but everyone knows that kids with special needs take up all of the teacher’s attention and cause distractions in class, right?

Then Frankie came along and I was suddenly aware of how untrue and unfair this outlook was. She had as much right as any kid to be educated alongside her peers. I knew inclusion would help her thrive, but I still worried that other parents would never want her in their child’s classroom.

Then I saw this – according to a recent study, students who are educated alongside their disabled peers performed 15% higher in academics than students educated without their disabled peers. Further, these students are more aware of diverse styles of learning among themselves as well as their disabled peers and report a general feeling of inclusivity within their school day. They also enjoy the resources and support of special education teachers who are trained to look out for not only their academic growth but their social, emotional and behavioral wellbeing as well. In short, inclusion benefits everyone.

As for Frankie, when I dropped her off this morning, she was tackle-hugged by a classmate before she even got in the door. She adds so much more to a classroom than she takes away.