Full Inclusion: The Best Option for Students? By Lauren Johnson and Maria Le What is the difference between Inclusion and “Full” Inclusion? • Inclusion: Meaningful participation of students with special needs in general education classrooms and programs. • Full Inclusion: Full time integration in general education classrooms of all students with special needs, regarding the severity of their disabilities. Lewis & Doorlag, 2006 What is the purpose of Inclusion? • Implications of social connectedness • Participation • Exchange and shared responsibilities • Build student’s competence both in and out of school • Become full, active, learning members of the school community Feguson et. al, 1992 Benefits of Inclusion for Students with Special Needs • Mainstreaming and inclusion provides students with mixed ability an opportunity to seek assistance from one another rather than receive direct support from the teacher. Koutroulis, Champlin College Reasons for Full Inclusion • To create a world in which all children are welcome, comfortable to grow up with, knowledge about, and supportive of all kinds of children. • To be consistent with multicultural education, with wanting to create a world in which many more people have opportunities to know, play, and work with one another. • For children to be members of a broader community. • To avoid labeling special needs students so that schools can go about “business” as usual (~ SaponShevin). O'Neill, 1994-1995 Reasons for Full Inclusion • Advocates of full inclusion subscribe to the basic tenet that students are more alike than different (Mock & Kauffman, 2002). Reasons for Full Inclusion • “Inclusion will succeed to the extent that it links itself with other ongoing restructuring efforts” ~ Sapon-Shevin (O’Neill, 1994-1995). The Other Side of the Coin… • A student does not have much fun and does not learn much in an instructional setting that is not well matched to his or her prior knowledge. • General education teachers are extremely unlikely to be able to teach all or even most students with disabilities well, even if they are very good at teaching most students without disabilities. • Students are discriminated against when they are not provided with instruction that is appropriate to their needs, regardless of where they are taught. Kauffman et. al (2005) The Other Side of the Coin… • Image the difficulty in adjusting lesson plans to more than one student who is fully included in your classroom. • In terms of grouping arrangements- are the advanced students appropriately challenged? • Are we working harder at inclusion than at appropriate instruction? Is appropriate instruction a more compelling social right than inclusion? • Schools fail students when image reigns and substance is relegated to second place. Kauffman et. al (2005) The Other Side of the Coin… • The place of instruction should not be allowed to trump the nature of instruction. Kauffman et. al. (2005) To fully include, or not to fully include… that is the question. • Is full inclusion the best option for students in order for them to function properly with mainstream students? • Is the special education classroom treated as a safety net to avoid a clash of differences between mainstream students and special education students? References • • • • • Ferguson, D. L., Meyer, G., Jeanchild, L., Juniper L. & Zingo, J. (1992). Figuring out what to do with the grown ups: How teachers make inclusion “work” for student with disabilities. Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, 17 (4), 218 – 226. Kauffman, J. M., Landrum, T. J., Mock, D. R., Sayeski, B. & Sayeski, K. (2005). Diverse knowledge and skills require a diversity of instruction groups: A position statement. Remedial and Special Education, 26 (1), 2-6. Koutroulis, P. N. (Accessed 12/3/2006). Electronic Portfolio: Champlain College. Burlington, Vermont. http://www.champlain.edu/majors/education/pt3/peter.koutrouli s/SpecialNeeds.html Mock, D. R. & Kauffmann, J. M. (2002). Preparing teachers for full inclusion: Is it possible? The Teacher Educator, 37 (3), 202 – 215. O’Neill, J. (1994-1995). Can inclusion work? A conversation with Jim Kauffman and Mara Sapon-Shevin. Educational Leadership, 52 (4), 7-11. Case Study: • You are the new second grade teacher in the rural, Eagle Lake Elementary School in Cook County, Minnesota. You are looking over an IEP of a student named Dale. Dale is severely autistic with some muscular dystrophy. He was not fully included in kindergarten or first grade. Dale’s mother has expressed interest in full inclusion for him because she feels that socially, this is important as he is an only child with working parents. Dale’s mother is very involved with Dale’s academics; however his father has excluded himself when it comes to Dale’s development. Case Study: Continued • Dale is able to walk on his own, with some assistance on the stairs. He is nonverbal, but does make humming noises. Dale’s medium for letting others know how he is feeling is through the tone of his humming. He enjoys music, books, and the outdoors (he is often caught standing by or looking outside the window). In addition, Dale likes to press buttons, such as the buttons on the TV or VCR. Dale is sensitive to loud noises and has difficulty with large groups. Dale wears diapers, and is accustomed to being “changed.” Dale is socially inappropriate, at times touching himself and invading others’ space. He has trouble maintaining eye contact and sometimes drools. Case Study: Continued • Dale is developmentally equal to that of a three or four year old. He likes to color, but tends to scribble. Dale likes numbers and is able to demonstrate very basic mathematical functions with the help of pictures and tactual objects. He has been to known to have troubles sitting still for longer than two minutes. In his special education class, Dale works best with bodily kinesthetic activities, such as ordering and spreading alphabet blocks across the room. THINK-PAIR-SHARE • Get into groups of 3-4. • A copy of the case study will be handed out along with two questions • Discuss with your group and be ready for a class discussion.