This term refers to bringing the support services to children with disabilities within their normal classroom setting. The article “Special Education Inclusion” mentions that inclusion commits to putting the child with disabilities in the regular classroom environment, so that they can benefit from being around their peers (Stout 2001). Inclusion is stated by Robert Fieldman as integration of all students, even those with the most severe disabilities, into regular classrooms and all other aspects of school and community life (2004). The success of these practices rides heavily upon the teachers and school being flexible with their instruction methods and only pulling the child out of class when necessary services cannot be given in the regular classroom. Here the students can be challenged, feel accepted and learn from the higher expectations placed on them.
To answer the question of why it is healthy for the growth of an average child, there are multiple reasons learning interactions are beneficial. Stout then listed the findings in the study Success For All that were positive changes for the regular education students: Less fear and more awareness of human differences, growth in social cognition, improvement in belief in oneself, ability to support peers with disabilities, and caring friendships (2001). Emile Durkheim argues that “attachment and belonging are essential to human development and integrating children with disabilities into regular classrooms is desirable (Noll 2004)”.
State laws that teachers need to know about is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Public Law 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975. IDEA requires that assessments be made for young children experiencing developmental delays. This also included the expansion of Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings for more experts to be involved, hence the intervention made must be backed by research. This Act states says in summary that all children with disabilities in both private and public schools be put in separate facilities only if the severity of their disability will keep them from receiving a suitable education in the regular classroom. The Public Law 94-142 is explained by Lewis and Doorlag as the start to guaranteeing appropriate services to the maximum extent. For instance, each student with disabilities must have an IEP with the parent’s consent and will receive the least restrictive environment possible (Lewis and Doorlag, 2005).
The children are often not going to be able to explain exactly what they are struggling with, so I will be informing these teachers about what to watch for. At this point they will be getting a handout from Interagency Network for Education in Emergencies that covers visual, auditory, and intellectual disability symptoms and strategies. This attached handout explains warning signs, such as sensitivity to light and squinting when there are visual difficulties, therefore seat them away from the glare or window and read aloud what is written (even largely) on the board.
If the student has not come near the level of development of their age mates, then seek possible assessment for intellectual difficulty. The classroom could be adapted by getting a volunteer to help with giving extra time and instructions. If a child is struggling with hearing, he may have trouble following directions or be uninvolved; hence, seat the student where they can be near teacher and peers to see how they are responding and use visual aids in lessons (INEE 2005).
In Rick Lavoie’s article, Early Warning Signs of Disabilities, he gave the following list of areas that are commonly affected:
l) Spoken language: delays, disorders, and deviations in listening and speaking
2) Written language: difficulties with reading, writing and spelling
3) Arithmetic: difficulty in performing arithmetic operations or in basic concepts
4) Reasoning: slower processing and organizing thoughts
5) Memory: challenges in remembering information and instructions
Going into this situation is inevitable, yet how teachers deal with it can make everyone succeed…. As I address the preschool teachers about inclusion, I intend for them to leave being motivated and prepared for inclusive situations. Hence, I am going to give them strategies and preparation, in handouts, for dealing with children who have disabilities; many of these suggestions could be brought up in a child’s IEP meeting.
Peer tutoring can happen easily and be incredibly effective way to promote social acceptance of special education students. General education students will gain experience by working with them, while the special needs student gets a fresh status, increased acceptance, occasion for socializing, all while practicing academics (Lewis and Doorlag, 2005). Sitting up front, next to a role model student can be very helpful as they can undertake assignments with a little nudge of help. Along the same lines, if the IEP allows it, volunteer tutors and professional aids are also beneficial to the need for one-on-one assistance in class.
Presentation of lessons has to be done to suit various learning styles. Illustrate things for visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learners by using things like overheads, Power point, group skits, video clips, demonstrations, artwork, poems and anything else where you can creatively engage the students. Along these same lines, it would be best to find out the learning styles of all of the students. Hence, when you place them in groups or seek to help the students with disabilities, it will be in a style that reaches their individual needs.
Learning disabilities are a widespread part of inclusion, because three to five percent of all children might have ADHD alone (Slavin 2003). Slavin’s section about Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities outlines particular ways to be effective. Prevention is encouraged by the “High-quality early childhood programs and primary grades teaching significantly reduce the number of children identified with learning disabilities” (Slavin 2003, p. 420). He goes on to explain that positive feedback regarding improvement in learning helps them do better. It helps to split up large assignments into intermediate goals, so that they can receive feedback as they go along and accomplish it correctly. Board games can be used to promote social growth of the learning disabled student with their peers; these fun activities can be effective builders of academic skills. (Lavoie, n.d.).
Misbehaviors often root from frustrations, hence learning-disabled students often “respond well to a rapid pace of instruction with much variety and many opportunities to participate” (Slavin, 2003, pg. 421). As mentioned above, many disabilities result in behavior issues that need to be addressed in positive reinforcement. Begin by defining suitable behavior, give genuine approval, and be consistent with reinforcements.
Physical and sensory impairments need strategies that regular teachers can use in mainstreaming classrooms. For visual impairments, help the student form a set-up of the classroom by exploration, enlarge text, and bring them a larger desk for the Braille writer (Lewis and Doorlag 2006). While for hearing impairments, the child should be where they can see the teacher and the students, away from background noise, and the teacher should be checking for understanding of the material.
1. Disability Rights Commission (2005) DRC Design and Technology by Reading Room. http://www.drc-gb.org/citizenship/talkvideos/index.asp.
2. Feldman, Robert S. (2004). Childhood Development (3rd Edition). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education.
3. Hagberg, Laurie. (1998). http://adhd.kids.tripod.com/adhd.html. “Outside the Box: Lessons I’ve Learned”.
4. Interagency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE). (2002 – 2005). “Inclusive Education of Children at Risk”. http://www.ineesite.org/inclusion/disabled.asp.
5. Lavoie, Rick.” The Teacher’s Role in Developing Social Skills”. http://www.ricklavoie.com/articles.html.
6. Lewis and Doorlag. (2006). Teaching Special Students in General Education Classrooms. Pearson Education, Inc. New Jersey.
7. Noll, James (2004). Taking Sides (12th Edition). Guilford, Conn. McGraw-Hill/Dushkin.
8. Special Education. (2004). http://www.pacificnet.net/~mandel/SpecialEducation.html