American with Disabilities Act and Preschool Inclusion

     ADA requires that children with disabilities have access to a regular education curriculum and are educated in settings that are typical and include same aged peers. However, inclusion at the preschool level is very different from inclusion at higher education levels and can present its own unique challenges. This workshop will focus on inclusion in the early education context. We will look at ADA as the backbone of preschool inclusion, discuss the philosophy/rationale behind preschool inclusion, and identify the challenges and core obstacles child care providers often face in the preschool inclusion classroom. We will then look into strategies for successful preschool inclusion, focusing on collaboration and a shared vision that supports the participation of all children in the preschool setting.

Passage of The American with Disabilities Act in 1990 opened a whole new world of options for parents of children with disabilities who previously struggled to find child care for their children with disabilities. Today the majority of preschool children with disabilities are educated in early education inclusion programs.

      This workshop will focus on the American with Disabilities as the backbone of preschool inclusion. Emphasis will be on the areas that most affect child care, including enrollment, curriculum and adaptations. Discussion will include ADA’s qualifying terms, such as reasonable accommodation and undue hardship as they relate to child care.

      Discussion will then move to inclusion in the early education context, focusing on the philosophy and rationale behind preschool inclusion. We will look into the unique nature of preschool inclusion and the differences between preschool inclusion and inclusion at higher education levels. We will identify and discuss the core obstacles and barriers that often make preschool inclusion a challenging endeavor. Participants will be encouraged to discuss difficulties they may be facing in implementing preschool inclusion.

      We will then conclude by identifying and discussing strategies for implementing a successful preschool inclusion program, focusing on collaboration and a desire to include all children in the preschool setting.