Over the past twenty years, there has been a strong movement within schools around the United States to integrate students with disabilities in to general education classrooms. Schools have been making more efforts to increase educational opportunities for students with disabilities, and while there are many benefits to inclusion, there are also many challenges. Inclusion of special education students in a regular education classroom continues to be the center of debate amongst administrators and teachers. Everyone has their own ideas and attitudes towards inclusion, and research studies have revealed that there are many things that contribute to those positive or negative attitudes.
Are all children created equal? Are they all the same? Do they all need the same things? Can they all excel at the same pace? These and many more questions come up when we discuss the topic of inclusion. Inclusion is the term many educational professionals use to explain the integration of students with special needs into regular education classes. The terms mainstreaming, deinstitutionized, normalization, as well as the least restrictive environment all have been used to in the past to refer to inclusion. Is inclusion what is best for all students with disabilities? What steps need to be taken in order to achieve this goal?
Students with special needs need deserve the same education general education students are presented with. The philosophy of “ Disability Inclusion” concentrates on creating a safe, loving, and effective learning environment for students who suffer from physical, learning, and behavioral disabilities. When a student with disabilities is placed in the same environment as a non-disabled student, the results show wonderful improvement. When we are able to discover the strength of the student we are able to see just how much the student can improve in an inclusion classroom. Disability Inclusion not only sets a new beginning for an equal education of special education students, but it allows for more interaction with the child, and a more hands-on assessment.
“The integration of children with disabilities in the same classroom with non-disabled youngsters has emerged as one of the most complex, important, and controversial practices in the field of education” (Tarver-Behring et. al, 1). Depending on the type of school, special needs students can be segregated from others and placed in their own learning based classroom. However, some argue that special needs students positively impact themselves and the others around them when being placed into the mainstream classroom setting. Special needs students should be placed in the traditional classroom setting because they positively impact students without disabilities, as well as
According to the latest figures available from Data Accountability Center, U.S. Department of Education, 2,415,564 students were identified as having a Specific Learning Disability in the Fall of 2010 (“Full Inclusion”). With the severity of the number of individuals with disabilities in the school system, the controversy of the best way to support them arises. One of the solutions of this controversy is the issue of full inclusion. Those opposed to the idea of full inclusion fear that the approach may impede on the children without disabilities and put a strain on the students with disabilities. The major stakeholders against full inclusion also fear that the process will negatively affect the teachers, as well as, the atmosphere of the classrooms. Many of these parties and individuals are not fully against inclusion all together, but do not support the idea of full inclusion.
When asking the question, is the inclusive classroom model working, the answer is yes. Inclusion is the right direction to go; however, the model that is in place is not the most effective for education. The Education Law for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 mandate that schools provide free public education to all students with disabilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990 ended the idea that a free public education meant segregating students with special needs in separate classrooms or wings of the school, and thus began the “inclusive classroom” movement. What does the law actually mean in regards to “inclusion”? All learners between the ages of 3 to 21 with handicaps, defined as students with hearing impairment, visual impaired, physically disabled, emotionally disturbed, or having special learning disabilities, will be provided a free public education. Furthermore, each of these students will have in place an Individualized Educational Plan where the educator and parent decide on the least restrictive environment possible (which in most cases is the regular classroom) as well as set educational, behavioral, or social-emotional goals for the student.
Students with disabilities have altered the environments of the classrooms dramatically overtime. Throughout the struggle of inclusion, the views on students with disabilities, and the way students and their families are treated in the classroom teachers have found a way to overcome these obstacles and attempt the perfect classroom setting for disabled children.
Even though the Least Restrictive Environment has been used for a long time around the world, disabled students are still not considered the same as nondisabled students. This leads to the essential question: Is enough being done for disabled students to be accepted by nondisabled students? On one side of the debate, critics will argue that nondisabled students are welcoming to disabled students, and make them feel like they are equal. However, some nondisabled students still do not know how to interact with disabled students, or they may just believe they are better without getting to know the disabled student. It is extremely important for people to realize that not enough is being done for disabled kids to be accepted by nondisabled kids because nondisabled children are not around disabled children enough to know how to interact with them, disabled children may not feel comfortable in the world around them, and disabled and nondisabled children still do not feel comfortable talking to each other because they are not around each other
In my opinion the education departments are not doing enough to encourage schools and explain to the teachers the benefits of inclusion to both the children with disabilities and the rest of the students (Ashman & Elkins, 2009). Children are our future and it is important that through inclusion they learn to understand that differences make us who we are. I think it also further teachers the message to booth the children and the rest of the community that of social justice which says just because your different doesn’t mean you don’t deserve fair treatment (Ashman & Elkins, 2009).
Separate special education provides no guarantee of success for children who need special attention. Students with special needs may fail to conform to the expectations of school and society, (Carter, Lewis, & Wheeler 2017) Inclusion may present issues for teachers that do not possess the skills to make it work. Teachers must collaborate with a team of professional to plan and implement instruction for students in an inclusive environment. Students without disabilities could begin to see the students with disabilities as a distraction in the class depending on the needs of the student with disabilities.
Inclusion has been one of the main focuses in the field of special education for the past two decades. Students with disabilities are being integrated in the general education classrooms at a steady pace. With the focus being on inclusion, educators are increasingly concerned with the social difficulties of students with disabilities (Lewis, Chard, & Scott, 1994). In any child’s life, it is important that they grow socially and academically. So, are disabled students in the
When inclusion began many educators were doubtful of the new plan for disabled students. Instructors linger to dispute and determine the preeminent ways to teach students with disabilities. As more students with bodily, scholarly, responsive, and other impairments learn together with general students, educators continue to learn how to contain these unique students in their classroom. The encounters, and assistances of inclusion remain to develop for educators, students with disabilities, and their general non-disabled students. Nevertheless, approximately everyone reach agreement that education for students with disabilities has enhanced significantly. The legal history indicates how much growth has been made in educating students with disabilities in the United States. It also show how much more is needed.
In some general classrooms, teachers tend to give more time and attention to children with disabilities, leaving general education students who may be struggling with little to no help. Socialization is another whole ballpark, inclusion could lead to children developing negative attitudes about peers with disabilities, especially if they feel they are receiving more attention from the teacher and other students in the classroom. Teachers of general education classes may have a fear of teaching students with disabilities. They feel they do not know them well enough and that they will make a mistake. This can then in return allow the teacher to push the student with a disability away and not give them the best education piece they can. These teachers feel like they should not have to change their classroom for a student that is coming to them. It also shows that these teachers are not trained properly in special education.
A lot of people do not agree with inclusion in classrooms. They say, “the disabled student might be disruptive” or “the other students might get upset when the teacher has to slow down for the disabled student.” All students have their right to an education, whether it be inclusive or not. If a student is disruptive, the teacher should be able to handle it. Although people think inclusion has many disadvantages, there are far more advantages and benefits for all students, teachers, families and even for communities. Since everyone can benefit from inclusion, we as society should make schools and communities inclusive.
Inclusion in classrooms can further benefit the communication skills and sense of community among students with and without disabilities. “Children that learn together, learn to live together” (Bronson, 1999). For students with special needs, inclusive classrooms provide them with a sense of self-belonging. The classrooms provide diverse environments with which the students will evolve feelings of being a member of a diverse community (Bronson, 1999). For students without disabilities, they learn to develop appreciation of the diversity. The classrooms provide many opportunities for the students to experience diversity and realize that everyone has different abilities that are unique and acceptable. From this realization, the students will learn to be respectful for others with different characteristics (Bronson, 1999). Inclusion in classrooms is beneficial to all students’ individual and community growth.