The Development of an Inclusion Certificate Program at SUNY Cortland
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Society continues to struggle with the full inclusion of individuals with disabilities. Review of related literature and best inclusive practices demonstrated the need for training and education on the philosophy and practices of inclusion. The purpose of this project was to develop an inclusion certificate program to be implemented at the State University of New York at Cortland. The conceptual framework for program development was derived from review of the related literature in the areas of the history of disability, inclusion, and barriers to inclusion, and best inclusive practices. Key concepts integrated throughout curriculum development included attitude formation and change, social role valorization, and the normalization principle. The vision was to create a comprehensive curriculum that would facilitate a multi-faceted learning experience. Curriculum development consisted of three main components: the core course, Inclusion Across the Lives of People with Disabilities; a fieldwork experience in community inclusion, and supporting coursework. Topics covered in the core course included: introduction to inclusion, disability history, legislation, paradigm shift perspective, early childhood, education, recreation, employment and retirement, self-determination, challenging behaviors, spirituality, friendship and relationship, and health and social service systems. Course outlines, lesson plans, and assignments were created for each component, and were included in the Inclusion Certificate Program Plan. Program objectives were utilized in development of the three components of the evaluation plan; the advisory committee, student portfolio, and attitude assessment. Funding and budget sources were identified to assist in future implementation of this program.