Document Type

Report

Publication Date

Winter 1-16-2012

Abstract

This sabbatical final report describes the preparation, activities, and initial outputs of a three month sabbatical journey to Italy in Fall 2011. Over the past two decades, educating students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms, alongside their peers without disabilities, has increasingly become a focus of global attention and advocacy (Ferguson, 2008; Vislie, 2003). In part, this has been evidenced internationally through the development and ratification of the Salamanca Agreement (UNESCO, 1994) and Article 24 (Education) of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (United Nations, 2006). These international accords strongly favor inclusive education for children and youth with disabilities as a foundational human rights issue. Historically, many children and youth with disabilities have either been denied access to education or have been relegated to segregated education (i.e., special education schools and classes). Segregated approaches have been based on benevolent, yet ultimately discriminatory assumptions and practices that have limited their opportunities and civil rights. For over 30 years Italy has been well known internationally for being a leader in the field of educating students with disabilities in typical classrooms (Berrigan, 1988; Berrigan & Taylor, 1997; Ianes, 2006). Historically known in Italy as "integrazione scolastica" (Canevaro & de Anna, 2010; D'Alessio, 2008a), the vast majority of students with a full range disabilities (those who typically are educationally segregated in many other western countries including the United States) are educated in general education classrooms alongside their peers without disabilities in Italian schools.

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