Otherwise known as EVERYBODY wins when ALL kids are included
Inclusion can mean many things. Traditionally, inclusion means some form of participation in a general education setting. But inclusion can also take place in the community, in sports, in recreational classes, and anywhere else typically developing kids gather. Although most people agree inclusion is a good idea, the actual practice of inclusion is usually very superficial.
Children with special needs are often accommodated with special classes, adaptations, and excused activities. They are often "pushed in" to a general education classroom for small activities before returning to their special education classroom. Research shows that this model deprives both the child with special needs AND their peers in general education the valuable learning opportunities that occur in a classroom full of kids with diverse learning needs.
Of course it's important for a child to be in a classroom or community environment where they are safe and able to learn, but depriving kids the chance learn how to interact with each other and the community will only lead to heartache once the child is older, more set in their ways, and suddenly expected to fit into a world outside school where, without meaningful inclusion, he or she might have no experience.
Be brave and bold for your child when looking for places to practice inclusion. Teach your child to view the world as simply the world, rather than a place they dip a toe into occasionally. Starting to practice and insist on meaningful inclusion in the community and at school at a young age will be an invaluable investment for not only you child's life, but all children's lives.
Inclusion is a complicated topic, to learn more, start here:
Early Childhood Inclusion from the Division for Early Childhood and the National Association for the Education of Young Children
Everyone Benefits from Inclusion from SummitDD
Inclusion: Ensuring Access for Everyone from Autism Speaks
Together We Learn Better: Inclusive Schools Benefit All Children from Inclusive Schools Network
Universal Design for Learning from CAST
In the Pool, On the Stage, and at the Concert from Paula Kluth