This week I viewed a video on Facebook from the author of “Don’t We Already Do Inclusion?” To be honest, it made me a little angry. First of all, our coffee shop is inclusive in nature in that we encourage the entire school to be involved in launching the coffee shop. For example, graphic arts students have designed several of our logos. (Our logos are amazing too).
Interior design students created a design plan. We have general education mentors who help out as well. However, the coffee shop/ coffee cart idea is designed to give special needs students job practice- NOT general education students. While I am certain that many general education students could benefit from job interview practice and dress for success day, the coffee shop/ coffee cart idea is so that special needs students have a business of their own in which they run on a daily basis. NO…. we are not recommending that you include everyone… WHY? Our students need and want to feel a sense of ownership. It is THEIR coffee shop/ coffee cart.
You may find this surprising…. but inclusion is NOT always the answer. Have you ever heard of Bitty & Beau’s Coffee? It is a coffee shop run by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Should they be more inclusive? Should they hire people who do not have intellectual disabilities? NO, OF COURSE NOT… That defeats the purpose! Should special olympics be more inclusive? ummm…. no…. The entire purpose of programs like Serving Up Success is to allow our students to SHINE.