Resources within Reason
Using Similarities & Differences to Support Inclusion
Camille Catlett December 2019
Identifying similarities and differences is the process of comparing information, sorting concepts into categories, and making connections to existing knowledge. Supporting each young child’s full and equitable participation requires early childhood professionals to build the capacity for children to recognize and talk about differences in ways that are honest and accurate, but also thoughtful and kind. This takes intentionality on the part of professionals, and daily practice and modeling by children and adults. Here are some free resources for supporting those capabilities.
Sometimes differences that may be obvious to adults are not obvious to children. This delightful video reminds us of this fact in a light-hearted way. This can be an interesting video to show to children to see what differences they notice. “What’s similar? What’s different?” can also be a fun activity to do live with children.
This document offers five different activities that can be used to explore similarities and differences in a fun, thoughtful, and informative way. Children’s books that could also be used to explore these topics are listed (e.g., The Sneeches by Dr. Seuss), along with additional resources for educators.        
The vision of community that the early childhood classroom provides can color children's expectations about equity, cooperation and citizenship for a life-time. This free training kit profiles seven classrooms in which teachers are helping children practice fairness, respect, and tolerance. The kit includes a 58-minute DVD and a Teacher's Guide, a 114-page set of additional information about each classroom as well as resources, activities, and reflections. 
This brief video and activity from Sesame Street provides a thoughtful introduction to helping young children process that although everyone is different, we all share important feelings. At this website, the video shows what some children with autism like to do, then text below the video provides prompts for discussing similarities and differences.
This phenomenal resource delineates practices through which schools, leaders, educators, and families can embrace neurodiversity and view learning differences as strengths. The guiding premise for this work is “ Here’s your general education student who has some special needs; not here is a special education student.” This PDF provides chapters in user-friendly format to address the following concepts: Believe in Me, Include Me, Find Me, Catch Me, Meet Me, Know Me, Involve Me and My Family, and Stick with Me. Each chapter is evidence-based and designed to help advocates gain an understanding of the key practices in a successful inclusive system, and what it takes to move the system toward greater inclusivity. Successful examples from across the nation are included — schools and communities that show what’s possible. Don’t miss the list on page 8 of Seven Ways Teachers Can Change Their Expectations for All Students, Including Students with Special Needs.  
Resources within Reason is a free one-way listserv provided by the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC). All resources are evidence-based, readily available and free.

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