Since the 1980's more and more school have began to practice the technique of inclusion in their classrooms. Inclusion is a term which expresses commitment to educate each child to the maximum extent appropriate, in the classroom he or she would otherwise attend. (Education Resources. "Special Education Inclusion." web Nov 15, 1998).
Most schools began this process by main streaming. Main streaming is usually refers to the selective placement of special education students in one or more "regular" education classes. (Education Resources... ) For example a student with a learning disabilities would have some classes in the "regular " classroom and other classes would be segregated. The idea is that eventually they would be able to be completely included in the "regular " class.
There is one more term that will be helpful in the understanding of this paper and that is full inclusion. Full inclusion means that all students, no matter what their handicap, will be in a "regular " classroom full time. (Education Resources... ) The general difference between main streaming and inclusion is that people in favor of main streaming believe that a child with disabilities first belongs in the special education environment and that the child must earn his or her way into the "regular" education environment. Those who support inclusion believe that the child always Williamson 2 should begin in the "regular" environment and be removed only when appropriate services cannot be provided in the "regular" classroom. (Education Resources...
) Then there are some people that believe that "regular" students and special education students should be segregated at all times. Those people think that the disabled students will be disruptive and eventually cause more problems for the other students because they would be such a distraction. When I first bega this paper I had taken the position that the special education students should be segregated from the other students at all times. I believed that they took attention away from the other students which put the "regular" kids at a huge disadvantage... However when I began to do research on this topic I realized that there is so much more information to consider. The counter argument against inclusion is understandable.
It makes sense that a special education student would require extra attention and would therefore take attention away from other kids. Some would also believe that the teacher may have to take things slower for the disabled kids which in turn would slow down the faster kids. These are good arguments but when you look at the bigger picture from what all students gain from inclusion you see that it is actually a wonderful process for everybody. Williamson 3 What it does for special education children to be put in a "regular" classroom is amazing. In the 50 studies comparing the academic performance of students of inclusion compared to those students that were segregated, the mean academic performance of the integrated group was in the 80 th percentile, while the segregated students score was only in the 50 th percentile. Using this evidence, advocates of inclusion say that segregated programs are detrimental to students a no way near meet the original goals for special education.
(Education Resources... ) Also A study in 1989 found that over a fifteen year period, the employment rate for high school graduates with special needs who had been segregated programs was 53 percent, but for special needs graduates from integrated programs the employment rate was 73 percent. Another very good point is that the cost of educating students in segregated programs was double that for educating them in integrated programs. (Education Resources... ) For the students in the classroom with special education students there were several very positive changes which I now believe prove to be a much greater advantage than any kind of disadvantage some people may have believed they were being exposed to. One of the changes in these children was that there was a reduced fear of human differences accompanied by increase comfort and awareness by all kids Williamson 4 in the class.
There was also improvement in the self- concept of non-disabled students and development of personal principles and an ability to assume an advocacy role toward their peers and friends with disabilities and also warm and caring friendships. We all want the best life we possibly can and we all would like for everyone else to have the best life too, especially our kids. I think obviously inclusion is best for the special education kids considering the statics provided before. I also believe that the lessons the kids learn when put in an inclusive environment are so important to the way they will interact with all sorts of people when they enter the real world. They will all be aware of human differences, they will be comfortable with all people and they will all in all be better people.