September 22, 2017

Club Inclusion

CLUB INCLUSION

“Encouraging diversity, inclusion, and participation of all students”

School is about more than intellectual development; It is where people find a since of belonging, can build self-esteem, where kids learn to work together in learning groups, where kids learn how to make good choices and problem solve effectively, and build friendships.  The Arc of Louisiana and People First of Louisiana want to see more inclusion and opportunities for children with disabilities in the schools.  People First of Louisiana has partnered with Baton Rouge Charter School- Mid City to pilot a program that offers extracurricular activities that promotes inclusion of all children with and without disabilities that encourage self-advocacy and self-determination.

Children with special needs do not always feel successful in school because of their academic struggles.  Sadly, students with special needs, especially learning disabilities; typically hold positions of lower social status than their non-disabled peers and are often not thought of when opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities are available.  Lack of inclusion which results in:

  • Lack of choice, purpose and involvement
  • Lack varied perspectives afforded by diversity
  • One dimensional leadership-absence of input from            divers populations

While all children benefit from high extracurricular programs, inclusion gives children with special needs the chance to experience meaningful and authentic belonging.  Beyond the benefits of providing learning and enrichment activities, extracurricular school activities offers children with special needs the chance to engage with their non-disabled peers in a way often not possible during the regular school day.  Extracurricular school activities provide an opportunity where children with special needs can learn, play and succeed side-by-side with children of all abilities. Students are able to:

  • Identify and cultivate their gifts, talents, and preferences
  • Acknowledge limitations and develop compensations
  • Encourage diversity, inclusion and participation
  • Promote self-advocacy and Self-determination
  • Develop two way mentorship/leadership that  considers info/input from all
  • Recognize the value of each other’s opinions and input based on their experiences.
  • Set the ground work for creative problem solving and solution building and ultimately…………
  • maximize their potential

 The Arc of Louisiana and People First of Louisiana recognizes that all students have something to contribute, yet because of some limitations individuals with disabilities; they are sometimes unable to try out or apply for extracurricular activities outside of the typical learning with the school they attend.  The activities of Club Inclusion are implemented through interactive games, discussions, exploration, innovation, and personal and community advocacy projects.

The club is offered to all 7th and 8th grade students at Baton Rouge Charter Mid-City at no cost.  If you would like to start a club inclusion at your child’s school; contact Linda Wilson, Project Coordinator at 225-383-1033 ext. 206.