Teachers working to make classrooms inclusive for students with disabilities

TORONTO, Dec. 3, 2012 /CNW/ - As countries world-wide mark the International Day for People with Disabilities, Ontario public elementary teachers are working to create safer environments for students with disabilities.

"We're constantly working to ensure that classrooms are inclusive and safe for all students, including those with disabilities," said Sam Hammond, President of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO).  "We have a number of professional resources for teachers to consult and use with students to address issues of ability/disability, and other issues such as stereotyping and name-calling."

Most recently, ETFO published a comprehensive resource called "Social Justice Begins with Me" that includes an annotated children's literature bibliography on disabilities. The federation is also a member of the coalition for Child and Youth Mental Health, which continues to advocate for appropriate and timely mental health services for young people.

Another innovative program from ETFO provides funds for classroom teachers to bring someone with a disability into their classroom. This allows students to see people with disabilities as successful, contributing members of their communities and broader society.

First declared by the United Nations in 1992, the International Day for People with Disabilities aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

SOURCE: Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

For further information:

Valerie Dugale, ETFO Media Relations: Cell: 416-948-0195

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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