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Help us 'Inspire a Generation' of young disabled people
Hello, I am Tara Flood. As a former British Paralympian gold medallist and world record holder, I continue to live the values of the Paralympics - those of courage, determination, inspiration and equality, through my work as Director for the Alliance for Inclusive Education (ALLFIE). Run by disabled people themselves, ALLFIE campaigns for disabled young people to be included in mainstream education.
The London 2012 Paralympics have been amazing for disabled people in Britain. As Sebastian Coe said at the Paralympics closing ceremony “the Paralympians have lifted the cloud of limitation” as in Britain “we will never think of disability in the same way again”.
Since then there has been lots of talk about the Paralympics in terms of its legacy and how the momentum of the games can be harnessed. I believe the most important place to start is where young people’s aspirations and expectations of their lives are formed - at school.
Many people are under the impression that separate learning is better - the assumption is that disabled people can get the specialist support they require, and non disabled people are able to learn 'unhindered' by disabled children - often seen as having a deficit in their abilities. However the evidence just doesn’t support this.
The reality is that segregated learning devalues disabled children, damages their confidence, gives them low expectations for their lives, and leaves them completely isolated in their local communities. Special schools divert funding away from mainstream schools having the resources to be truly inclusive and segregated learning distorts the relationships between disabled and non disabled people in society leading to discrimination.
Including disabled children in mainstream education makes sense ethically, financially and practically, and is far more compatible with an inclusive society.
Please help ALLFIE ‘inspire a generation’ of disabled young people by helping to create a more inclusive society that provides the right support and encouragement within the education system.
We desperately require financial support to fund our activities, particularly now as the future of the education system is currently being decided by parliament. We need to ensure that the views of disabled people are included in its transformation so that educational opportunities for young disabled people in mainstream education improve not deteriorate. At this crucial time there is so much at stake, and we really need your support.