In order for students with disabilities to be successful in general education classes, it is important that general education teachers, special education teachers, and para-professionals work together as a team. Other professionals who might be part of this team include speech therapists, occupational therapists, behaviorists or physical therapists. Collaboration occurs when these people work together to plan instruction, create modifications, and problem-solve. When all of the teachers and therapists who work with a student work together, they create the richest environment possible for that student, and they become better teachers and professionals too! Collaboration requires them to come up with creative supports for each student so that everyone can access the material.

Another very important step to success in the general education classroom for students with disabilities is support and involvement from classmates and that starts with you, as a peer buddy! Peer buddies help teachers all over the nation to make inclusive education as effective as possible, and you are an important part of that. Some ways that you may work together in the classroom include working on assignments; helping your peer buddy stay organized or sharing materials; encouraging your buddy to participate in group work; reviewing what the teacher said during a lecture with your buddy; answering and asking questions of each other; reviewing homework; and explaining directions. In many of these tasks you would collaborate with your teacher to make sure that your peer buddy is obtaining information; for example, your teacher might provide a review sheet or guided notes for you to go over with your peer buddy. Outside of class, some ways that you might interact with your peer buddy include introducing him or her to other students and helping him or her to have a conversation with these new people, eating lunch together, or attending a club or extra-curricular activity with your peer buddy.

What are some of the characteristics commonly found in successful inclusion programs? Look at the following website to find out. 

Look at the following scenarios for inclusion. 

Difficulties are often faced when it comes to including high school students. How could the teachers in this scenario have used peer buddies to help the Miriam and Jamie? Write your responses in a one page reflection.