Inclusion

What is it?

Inclusion is when students with disabilities are integrated into the general education classroom. This helps students with disabilities be able to interact with their peers and develop social skills.

History

In the past students with disabilities were separated from normally developing students. It was thought that this was better for everyone but now we know different. It is benificial for both students to be together in the classroom. Now IDEA requires that all students with disabilities should be educated with normally developing students.

My opinion

In my opinion I think that inclusion is great. It is extremely important for all students to have this opportunity. With that being said, all students are different and each learns in a different way. Some students with disabilities may have a very severe disability where they need constant attention that can not be given in the general education classroom; here inclusion may not be the best for them. Almost all of the time inclusion is the best way to go; with inclusion also comes an aid in the classroom or the student being pulled out for specialized attention and education.

The benefits of inclusion

The website PBS Parents has a section on inclusion and in that section it talks about the benefits. Some benefits are:


  1. Children will develop a positive image for themselves and others: It is known that students with disabilities may have a lower self esteem than other students or children their age, part of this reason is from feeling different and isolated. With inclusion students can learn the similarities and differences that they have with other students, this helps them to understand diversity.
  2. Friendships develop: When students are put into a general education classroom, they are able to develop friendships with all students. It is important for students with disabilities to be able to learn social skills from their peers. Having friends also helps their self esteem.

There are so many more benefits of inclusion, If you take a look at the website you can see for yourself.

How to make inclusion work

To make inclusion work in a general education classroom there have to be some changes and modifications added. Here are some ideas to help inclusion work in the classroom:

  • Having the correct supports and services specific to the child
  • Have a well designed IEP
  • Have all the teachers get together, plan and talk about the students goals and improvements - they should all have the same understanding and knowledge of the student
  • Make sure the teacher is collaborating with other teachers and the parents

If these ideas are met, including a student in the general education classroom should work well. Here a website to look at for more details:

http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr034.shtml

Why is it important?

Inclusion is important because it gives students opportunities they may not have normally had. It allows for students to feel normal and participate in normal activities. They are able to make friends; ones who have disabilities and ones who don't. This helps them to gain more self confidence and helps all students to accept differences.

The difficulty?

With inclusion there are many difficulties that come with it. One difficulty is that teachers may not be able to compensate for the student with disabilities in the classroom. They may not be able to meet there needs. Another difficulty is that not all students will benefit from being fully included. Some need more specialized attention and may need to get pulled form the classroom or not be included at all; it depends on the severity. Another difficulty is that although the student will be in the classroom they need to be engaged and actively participate; sometime this is hard for a teacher to do.

Class activities

Each video that I have watched in the SPED class about a child with a disability and being included in a general education classroom has helped me to understand it better. Seeing these videos have shown me ways to help include students in classroom activities and shown me how teachers interact with them and help them. I have always liked inclusion but after watching all the videos I appreciate it much more; seeing how happy the children are.


Some activities that a teacher can do to make sure that inclusion works in the classroom are:

  • Including other professionals to help
  • Encourage positive behavior from the student
  • Teachers much identify and target learning goals and objectives that will lead to success and progress for the student - not unrealistic goals
  • Use technology
  • Use UDL - multiple means of representation, expression and engagement

Personal experience

I have a learning disability and while I was in elementary school I was shown inclusion. I was able to be in the general education classroom for the main part of the day but I did get pulled out for speech and resource room. Being able to have that normal experience of being in the classroom with my peers was amazing, I not only learned so much educationally but I also learned a lot for my peers, like social skills. They were there to help me if I got stuck and no one cared that I left the classroom every now and then. Inclusion was the best thing for me.

reference for parents

This website talks about what inclusion is and how it is beneficial. It is a good resource to use with children because it is easy to understand and gets to the point.