This report details the role of educational inclusion, individual and general perspectives on inclusion and how the medical and social models have played a great part in the conception and in its application in regards to inclusion in the past and in recent times. Inclusion has different conception and used in certain terminology that relates to inclusion. It is used in different settings such as in social care and in the educational setting in the society today. In this report I will be focusing on the educational part.
The Encarta English Dictionary defines inclusion as the addition of somebody or something to the rest of a whole. This definition has not specified who is to be included but a person or group being part and accepted by the rest of a whole. Inclusion have been defined and interpreted by many as just the integration of children with special educational needs (SEN) into mainstream school. According to (Rigby 2000) these kinds of misconception and viewpoints often lead to the misunderstanding and maltreatment in such a way that it creates room for continuous labelling, bulling and rejection by others without SEN.
The term Inclusion according to (The Warnock 1978 Report) was initially used as integration, whereby children with SEN who have been educated in special schools where integrated into mainstream school provided they did not have any effect on adequate use of resources. The definition of inclusion is actually changing and moving, in the sense that, its concept and dynamism is now broader, people are now beginning to fully understand what it means and what it evolve in the society today.
It is not just about people with special needs integrating or having the same capabilities to perform but having equal choices on where is more conducive they choose to live, having equal opportunity to engage in whatever they choose to do and being accepted the way they are (Giangreco 1997). Social Inclusion/ Social Exclusion There are no definite definitions for social inclusion and social exclusion, both of them has multiply definitions, it all depends on the context which it is used for and is still being developed.
Exclusion can be defined as the act of excluding, or of shutting out, whether by thrusting out or by preventing admission; a debarring; rejection; prohibition; the state of being excluded (Inc Icon Group International 2008). According to the definition above, it indicates that social exclusion is multidimensional; people are not only excluded in the society because of their age, sex, religion, colour, disabilities, race and gender it can also be due to unemployment, homelessness, low income, poor mental health, locality, dysfunctional family, educational achievement, status in the society etc (SEU 2004).
This group of people are said to be in a Cycle of Disadvantage ( Pope, Pratt and Hoyle, 1986). Article (136 and 137) of The (1997) Amsterdam Treaty was enacted in order to eliminate exclusion and promote economic and social cohesion. Social inclusion promotes integration and community cohesion, it builds the communities, promotes understanding and unity. Inclusive Education and Government Legislation
According to (The 1944 Educational Act) it initially stated that, children’s education should be based on their age, aptitude and ability. During the Act establishment, there was a philosophy that children with special need were to be able fit in the school rather than the school making provision to accommodate them before gaining admission into the mainstream school. The (1944 Act) was in use until 1974, when the Warnock Committee was set up to review the provision that was available for children with Special Educational Need.
This committee which was headed by Mary Warnock lead to the publication of the 1978 Warnock Report. The Report concluded that, they were about 20% of children in school population that might have Special Education Need and only 2% of which may require support in the mainstream school. The Warnock Report suggested that there should be a proper provision in place for children with Special Educational Need, which then will ensure that the 2% in mainstream school received the adequate provision.
The 1978 Warnock Report had since lead to the enactment and development of various educations Act such as, (1981Education Act), (1993 Education Act), (1996 education Act) and the (2001 Special Educational Needs & Disability Act) All these Acts listed above reinforces government’s dedication and commitment to the fully inclusion of children with Special Education Needs into mainstream school and the society as a whole.
Inclusive Education and Autism Abraham Maslow formed a theory on ones personality that has a great influence on education. In his theory of human need, he emphasized that, the student with education need that has a wish or desire to belong to a normal group, that desire creates the motivation to acquire new skills, which the student can only achieve in a learning environment that is void of segregation. He further argued that the sense of belonging is the foundational need that that needs to be met in order to achieve the higher level self actualization.
According to (Article 28) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, it stated that every child has a right to education. No child should be discriminated, excluded or deprived on the basis of belonging to a particular group. Therefore Inclusive education can be defined as the integration of adults or children into mainstream school regardless their gender, age, disabilities, ethnicity, colour or impairment (Daniels and Garner 2000).
Children with hidden disabilities like autism, which is a life time disability that affects the way a child communicates and interact within the society, are faced with difficulties of being fully included into mainstream school. Prior to the development of the Special Need Education, children with autistic spectrum were viewed under two models of disabilities, Medical or Social Model. These are ways how people viewed and acted towards people with disabilities.
The Medical Model of Disability sees the illness in the person first and the individual second, this notion creates a bad and negative conception of disability (Cigman 2007). The Social Model of Disability sees the disable person first before their illness. This model sees the person as an individual, different and unique, who has an equal rights and opportunities to education and other essentials of life. The model recognises the fact that a disable person’s impairment does not regard him or her less than anyone else in the society.