Inclusion does not mean the child must work at grade level. If it did then alot of other kids should not be in class. Not every kid is at grade level in a class. It means that if the subject is Australia and the third grade class needs read a passage & write 3 paragraphs about Australia, the child that is included with an IEP may have the passage read to them (on tape or by a person) and they write 3 sentances about Australia. That is giving the child access to the same information and having them produce the work at their level.
I went to observe the general education class at my daughters school. She has a wonderful teacher that she loves. However, my daughter is not included in reading, language arts or math in general education. So as I watched the class I was picturing my daughter in the class. When I first got there they started working on 15 minutes of morning work, which was to prove a three digit addition problem, next problem was if cookie costs 5 cents how many with quarter, next problem is Campers cook food an fire is that make believe or real, next problem is which two continents does Asia touch. Now my daughter could positively do a single digit add prob and most probably do a double digit add problem. Maybe could pick out the nickles pick out a quarter, she might be able to know which was make believe or real and she could find Asia on a simple map. She could do adjusted work in all the same type of activites that the general education class kids could do. I observed the independent center work for the 45 minutes after that and I believe my daughter could do some type of work in each of the centers. For example there was word wall gen ed kids had to write a # of sentances--my daughter could write one, gen ed kids had to write an invitation with who, what, where...-my daughter could write that too... That is what inclusion is all about. It is hard work for the teachers to adjust the workpapers to be at her level but the benefit to my daughter would be great.
The intense work in the resource room is very concentrated--not very engaging and there is not much opportunity for independence that I see in the general education classroom. I believe it is better for short period of times for intense work on specific subjects but should be used only in addition to time in the general education classroom.
Please teachers keep an open mind about inclusion and don't assume that if a child is NOT on grade level they cannot be included. If work is multiplication my daughter could do 1x2, 1x3... with repetition gen ed kids may do double digits... It can work for the benefit of all the kids.
I am not giving up. Every year I will try for more and more inclusion.