Two Main Theories of Special Education There are two main theories to special education. One is the cascade of services and the other is the inclusion theory. I will discuss some of the advantages as well as some of the disadvantages of both theories. I will also discuss which theory I believe in and why. Evelyn Deno developed the cascade of services in 1970. It is the outline of the continuum of placement options. There are seven levels to the cascade and they serve as a diagnostic filter.
The cascade goes from top to bottom with the least restrictive environment at the top with the larger number of children to the most restrictive environment at the bottom with the smaller number of children. The first level is regular classes including those persons who may be handicapped but are able to get along with regular classroom accommodations. The next level is a child attending regular classes plus having supplementary instructional services. The third level is resource room.
These are rooms a child would go to for extra help. The next level down, moving towards the most restrictive environment, is full time special classes inside a regular public school. Special schools for example, The New York School for the Deaf, is the next level. The sixth level is residential. And finally, the last level being, homes and hospital schools. Some disadvantages to the cascade theory are that once children are slotted they become caught or stuck at that level when they might need to move on.
Another disadvantage is that when the child gets pulled out of class for his/her extra help, they in turn will miss out on work in their regular class. An advantage to the cascade of services is that the child who truly needs the extra help will then get it. The inclusion theory is one of the four goals set forth by the congress for students with disabilities. The goal of inclusion is for all persons with disabilities to achieve full participation and full citizenship and to be included in American life.
For educational purposes inclusion means using the same community resources and participating in the same community activities as those persons without disabilities. Meaning every child will be taught in a regular classroom. Some of the advantages of the inclusion theory are that students with disabilities increase their language development and they improve their social interactions. Another advantage is that a special education teacher and a regular teacher are working together.
This in turn raises their expectations of the students. A possible disadvantage to the inclusion theory is that the children with disabilities might not get the attention that they need. I personally believe in both the inclusion and the cascade of services theories. I think it? s beneficial for all students to learn together in one classroom so that the children also learn from each other. I also believe that if a child needs more help on a subject he/she should get the appropriate help to maximize their learning opportunities.