Inclusive Schools Week: 'Including Samuel' shows inclusion in family, classroom

The Newtonite

by Ryan Condon

“Including Samuel,” a movie by photojournalist Dan Habib about his son with cerebral palsy, was presented in the auditorium yesterday A-block.

The film first discusses Habib and his wife’s reaction when they discovered that their son, Samuel, has cerebral palsy, a disease that makes it hard for Samuel to control his muscles.

“Having Samuel made me look at my own prejudice,” Habib says. He explains that it is often easy to have a tendency to assume that a person is less intelligent or less of a person because they act differently.

The film shows how Samuel is included in his classroom and describes the steps that are being taken to include students with disabilities in public schools.

Different technologies that Samuel uses in school were described in the film.

“Technology is our friend,” says Habib. Samuel uses a wheelchair that accelerates and helps him move around freely. The chair also has tools to help him speak and a joystick for controlling technology in the classroom.

Also covered in the film is the story of Keith Jones, a Boston resident with cerebral palsy, who works in the music industry. Jones describes the experience of growing up in the public school system in the 1970s.

Jones says that students with disabilities were separated from other students and given simple tasks to perform.

Later, his family moved to Boston and Jones was included in the same classroom as the other students.“That is the key, because you can’t keep someone in a room all day and then release him into the world expecting them to have social skills,” says Jones.

The end of the movie was not shown due to time constraints.