Bobby, a young boy, is diagnosed with autism at age 3. At age 5 his parents attempt to place him into the kindergarten class in their school district. The school district wanted to immediately put Bobby into a special education classroom that is made up of entirely special needs children of all different disorders. Knowing that Bobby was prone to tantrums and uneasy with things unfamiliar to him, his parents wanted Bobby placed into a regular classroom with normally functioning students but with extra help from perhaps an extra aide or teacher. The school district decided to accommodate Bobby's parents' wishes and placed Bobby into a regular kindergarten classroom with a one-on-one aide who would also assist a few other children in the class when needed. This type of classroom is an inclusion classroom, meaning normally developing students are placed in the same class as special needs children so they can all learn from each other. It is not always easy for special needs children to adjust to an inclusion classroom at first, but they then usually become a successful environment.
In the beginning of the school year Bobby had frequent outbursts when told to move from one activity onto another. These outbursts disturbed the classroom and Bobby's classmates. Sometimes Bobby would scream and cry "NO!" when forced to relinquish a toy or supply to another student to teach him to share. Other times he wouldcry because he did not understand that every turn could not be his turn during games. Transition times were always a problem, because Bobby did not comprehend the concept of finishing one activity and moving onto the next. He just did not understand that the previous activity would still be there to do at another time or place. However, after a period of time and observing the "normal" students in his classroom, Bobby began to have fewer and shorter outbursts and began to understand simple concepts like finishing coloring and moving onto learning his alphabet.
Many parents argue that having special needs children in the classroom with their normal children will hinder everyone's learning and cause disruptions and distractions. However, inclusion classrooms help to teach sensitivity to normal students and proper interaction with society to special needs students. Inclusion in the scholastic environment benefits both the disabled student and the non-disabled student in obtaining better life skills. By including all students as much as possible in general or regular education classes all students can learn to work cooperatively, work with different kinds of people, and how to help people in tasks. "As J.W. Whitworth, the Department of Education Chair of Texas, notes, '...the goal of inclusion in schools is to create a world, in which all people are knowledgeable about and supportive of all other people,'" (3).
Every child in a public school system is required to receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) (Public Law 102-119). For higher-functioning children with special needs FAPE means being included in a regular classroom. Despite many arguments that special needs children are a hindrance to education in inclusion classrooms, the benefits of inclusive teaching outweigh the negative aspects. Any specialneeds child who is capable of functioning with some assistance in a mainstream classroom should be afforded that opportunity. No high functioning special needs student should be forced to remain in a classroom full of students that are lower functioning than them, therefore slowing down their education.
Of the many benefits aspects for children placed in inclusion classrooms, there is none more important than the academic benefits. According to the Journal of Early Intervention, in a study of parents and teachers of inclusion classroom students, children with developmental disabilities placed in inclusion classrooms make great improvements in language, cognitive and motor development that are above their peers...
Cited: hitworth, J. W. "A Model for Inclusive Teacher Preparation." Electronic Journal for Inclusive Education 1 (1999). Retrieved April 18. 2007, from http://www.ed.wright.edu:16080/~prenick/JournalArchives/Winter-1999/whitworth.html.
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Stout, Katie. "Special Education Inclusion." Educational Issues Series: Wisconsin Education Association (2007). 18 Apr. 2007 .
Hestenes, L. L. & Carroll, D. E. (2000) The play interactions of young children with and without disabilities: individual and environmental influences, Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 15,229-246.
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