Thursday, November 17, 2011

Inclusive Education

This past year, I have been studying for my education degree. I decided to do a "summer session" subject (my university is an Australian university, and "summer session" runs from November to March). The only option that I had this semester was "inclusive teaching and learning".

As a part of my course, I need to learn about the legislation and social contexts of inclusive education (ie, education for students with special needs), different perspectives on the whole issue, etc. As a part of my first assignment (due on December 23, seriously!!), I need to discuss inclusive practices in an educational setting that I am familiar with.

Since I haven't been in school for 12 years, I haven't started any of my prac teaching yet, and the girls are not yet in primary school, I have decided to kill two birds with one stone and look into appropriate primary schools for Maddy. 

English speaking schools in Hong Kong are very difficult to get into and applications need to be made 1-2 years in advance, so although it may seem premature, Lana will need to start applying for primary school soon. Since I would like the girls to go to the same school, Maddy's needs play a major role in the school that I will choose for Lana. 

The whole process has been rather draining - I have been emailing some schools which I was considering, and I have a couple of appointments to go and discuss with them further. 

Maddy's "special needs" would be some kind of mixture of the following:
  • wheelchair accessible (Maddy may or may not need a chair, or she may have a walker or electric scooter, even just part time. It's hard to know exactly how mobile she will be, but accessibility is a major concern)
  • extra help with toileting if needed (Maddy will be unable to wipe her bottom without some form of aid, making toilet training more difficult. Hopefully she is completely trained by the time she starts school, but some extra help would be good.)
  • stools etc for reach
  • extra attention/help with learning to write/use scissors etc (due to the shape and stiffness of Maddy's hands)
  • flexibility if Maddy needs time off for surgery, ability to continue schooling from hospital etc
  • anti-bullying policies to ensure that she isn't an easy target
On one hand, I am glad that I am learning about these issues now, but it is a lot to think about and it is so far in advance. But such is the nature of education in Hong Kong. Hopefully we will be able to find at least two or three schools that we feel comfortable with sending the girls to...


  1. I just finished my first semester for my master's degree and was also in an Inclusive Education course. I learned a lot. I have two textbooks that you may find useful if you'd like to use them. As well as a TON of research printed from various journals--if it comes time to write papers. I'm sure your course will be different than mine was but I have a lot of resources if you'd like to use them. Good luck with finding a suitable environment for Lana and Maddy. :)

  2. I'm sure you are looking into this and Bernard obviously is familiar but i recall the ESF system was related to the Sarah Roe school?