PHIL RICHMOND AND HAYLEY AVRUSKIN
CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED JANUARY 9, 2019
Toronto-based parents Phil Richmond and Hayley Avruskin have two children with complex disabilities. They are part of the Congregated School Parent Network, which supports GTA-based congregated schools.
In our experience, inclusion – a system which seeks to include special needs students in regular classrooms – does not work for complex special-needs students (those, for example, with multiple disabilities or who are medically fragile); however, it can work for moderate special-needs students (for example, students with certain learning disabilities.) A congregated school is a special purpose school, specifically designed and staffed with willing educators to provide children who have complex disabilities with a safe place to learn, to develop community and to thrive.
The truth is that both camps have their place in education. They are not competing philosophies; they are complementary. And they just need to agree to get along…