Dr. Katie Bonawitz, Professor of Special Education, Director of Master’s of Special Education Programs, Assistant Dean for the Center for Access & Integration [BUILD Program] from Bethel University, MN, USA visited Ivano-Frankivsk and Khmelnytskiy regions, Ukraine conducting lectures on various aspects of inclusion and sharing experience with school leaders, teachers and teacher’s assistants, students and parents of children with special education needs and disabilities. She visited local special schools in Vygoda and Kalush, inclusive schools in Khmelnytskiy, Inclusive Resource Center in Kalush, department of Professional Education and Innovation Technologies in Precarpathian national university, departments of elementary education and preschool education of Ivano-Frankivsk college. All events were held with observance of safety rules: masks, social distance, open air and online streaming where possible.
Among the topics of interests were: inclusion as the social and spiritual phenomenon; differentiating curriculum for students with mild disabilities (Math, Reading/Written Language Arts, Social Studies, Art, Science); supporting students with mild disabilities and providing strategies for students with academic needs, physical needs, ADHD, emotional needs, behavioral needs; deeper insight into Autism Spectrum Disorders and intellectual disabilities.
The lectures were practical in nature, giving participants a chance to create social stories, develop visual aids, change learning environment and exercise a bit, discuss and share ideas of how to differentiate in inclusive environment: instruction, content, process/learning activities, learning outcomes/assessment, physical environment/structure of the schedule and classroom’s affective climate.
Approximately 330 teachers, university students, and other education professionals took part in the seminars. In addition, there were many conversations about inclusion in Ukraine. Question and answer sessions gave an opportunity to share unique experiences from the USA and Ukraine and plans for future collaboration.