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Educational Inclusion for Students with Intellectual Disabilities Jill Bardin University of South Carolina
Educational Inclusion for Students with Intellectual Disabilities Educational Inclusions for Students with Intellectual Disabilities Introduction The topic of educational inclusion for students with disabilities has been an area of great controversy. Inclusion is not a separate location; but a “philosophy that urges schools, neighborhoods and communities to welcome and value everyone, regardless of differences” (Renzaglia, Karvonen, Drasgow, & Stoxen, 2003). Many educators refer to the terms mainstreaming and inclusion interchangeably. However, mainstreaming and inclusion are two different practices. Mainstreaming entails that “individuals with disabilities have separate placement and enter the mainstream only for activities that they can perform at the level needed to succeed” (Renzaglia, Karvonen, Drasgow, & Stoxen, 2003). If we place students with disabilities in separate places, we are teaching all students that students with disabilities are in fact different from others. Students with intellectual disabilities have historically been placed in self-contained settings and have traditionally spent little time in settings with nondisabled peers. An individual with disabilities has to fit a program that already exists instead of creating a program
Educational Inclusion for Students with Intellectual Disabilities to fit the unique needs of the student. Polloway, Lubin, Smith and Patton (2010) stated that the federal data collected in 2003 indicates that 88.3% of students with the label of mental retardation and 73.2% of students with an autism label spend less than 20% of the school day in more inclusive settings. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 requires students to be provided with a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. It also requires that students be educated in the school they would attend in he or she was nondisabled. IDEA also states that a child with a disability may not be removed from education in the age-appropriate regular classroom just because he or she needs modifications to the general education. Many individuals with intellectual disabilities are being mainstreamed into classes without the proper support needed to enable them to be successful due to a variety of reasons. It could be due to general education teacher not knowing how to work with the student, lack of training, lack of collaboration between the general education teacher and special education teacher or resources. In my school district, students have historically been placed into a program where they are served based on their
Educational Inclusion for Students with Intellectual Disabilities category of disability instead of their unique needs. Scott and Brady (2000) indicated “placement outside of the school which the student would attend if not disabled should be considered an atypical placement” (p. 394). At one elementary school, there is a program for students with learning disabilities. At another elementary school, there is a program for students with autism. At a different elementary school, there is a program for students with emotional behavior disabilities. At another elementary school, there is a program for students with orthopedic disabilities, and at my school, there is the program for students with mental disabilities. Throughout their elementary school lives, students make friends within the general education classroom. Then, when the students in the self-contained classroom turn middle school age (11 years old), they move to the middle school that has the program that serves their category of disability while their same age peers go to a different middle school for the sixth grade year. Some programs are in two different zoning areas of the district, so the students who are required to go to a program based on their category of disability, attend elementary school with one set of peers, then are required to make all new friends in a school that is zoned for a different area because they have a specific disability. For
Educational Inclusion for Students with Intellectual Disabilities example, students with autism attend elementary school with one set of peers. Once these students finish fifth grade, they are never in the same school with those friends from elementary school. Their early friends never see them again in an educational setting. In my school, students with mild intellectual disabilities have historically been placed in a selfcontained classroom and been able to access the general education curriculum based on availability of support. Many times, students participate in the same grade level for two years due to lack of assistance. For example, a child with a disability would participate in kindergarten for one year, and then stay in kindergarten the following year due to not having enough people to provide the support needed in the general education classroom. By holding a child back, the child is not being provided the opportunity to have the best quality of life. It is our job as special educators to provide the support needed for the child to access in the general curriculum and be provided with the upmost quality of life. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to discuss how educators can provide appropriate support and teach the skills necessary to access the least restrictive environment, so all students can access the general
Educational Inclusion for Students with Intellectual Disabilities curriculum and enabled to have to upmost quality of life. This topic is important to students with mental retardation because it improves their quality of life. This topic is important to me because I would like to see our school district change to a more inclusive environment. In this paper, I will discuss a variety of instructional strategies that can be used to facilitate successful inclusive environments. Definitions Mainstreaming Mainstreaming implies that the individual with a disability has a separate place and can only go into the general education classroom for activities in which they could perform at the level to be successful (Renzaglia, Karvonen, Drasgow, & Stoxen, 2003). By using the
educational practice of mainstreaming, educators have different expectations for individuals with disabilities. The educators are implying that the individual with a disability does not belong in the general education classroom. The educator does not have the same high
expectations for all students. Students with disabilities are not an integral part of the educational environment. Their time in the classroom
is limited; thus, they have little time for social
Educational Inclusion for Students with Intellectual Disabilities interaction and do not see positive peer behavioral role models. Mainstreaming also limits the academic environment
of the students with disabilities. Inclusion Inclusion is a philosophy in which individuals with or without disabilities are valued members of the community and everyone belongs. The educator has high expectations The
for all individuals with and without disabilities.
educator provides the appropriate support to students with disabilities, so the individual is able to perform tasks in the general education classroom with their same age peers. Ryndak et al. (2010) compared long-term effects between two brothers with significant disabilities. One brother was
provided services in the self-contained setting while the other received services in an inclusive setting. They
found that the brother that received his special education services in the general education setting achieved more positive long-term outcomes. Inclusion is a philosophy
that must be embraced by educators for individuals to be provided with the upmost quality of life. Inclusion simply improves the quality of life for all students with disabilities as well as the lives of students without disabilities. By including students in the general education setting, students receive appropriate academic
Educational Inclusion for Students with Intellectual Disabilities stimulation as well as social relationships with peers of the same age. Interventions Self- Determination Self-determination involves elements involving “choice and decision making, problem solving, personal goal setting, self-management, self-instruction, and selfadvocacy” (Carr et al., 2002). By teaching individuals to set goals, manage his behaviors, solve problems, and advocate for himself, the individual will have the skills Research has suggested that teaching students to set goals and evaluate their progress towards the goal can promote access to the general education curriculum. Goal setting can be taught through setting attainable daily goals and monitoring progress towards those goals. Self-management is a strategy that has been described as a technique for enhancing independence in the classroom. It shifts the behavior management responsibility from the teacher to the student (Harrower, 1999). Koegel, Harrower, and Koegel (1999) found teaching self-management procedures increased academic engagement and reduced disruptive behaviors. The behavior and academic gains were maintained after completely fading the assistance from a support person.
Educational Inclusion for Students with Intellectual Disabilities Instructional Adaptations Researchers have found many successful strategies and interventions for facilitating inclusive education for students with intellectual disabilities. Partial participation is another instructional strategy that allows students with disabilities to participate in an inclusive education. It involves adjusting the curriculum to facilitate participation. This strategy allows the “student with a disability to participate in the same projects and instructional activities as the rest of the class, with specific modifications to the activity so that it suits the child’s specific abilities and needs” (Harrower, 1999). Modifications and accommodations to the general curriculum can be made in order for students with disabilities to be able to participate in a less restrictive environment. Modifications and accommodations such as oral administration, extended time on tests, use of calculator and use of dictionary have been suggested as additional strategies to foster success. Peer Support In self-contained classrooms, students with intellectual disabilities do not typically have good models for appropriate classroom behavior and social interactions.
Educational Inclusion for Students with Intellectual Disabilities By increasing time in the general education classroom, social behavior can be improved. In many classrooms, interactions with peers are
discouraged and many classrooms have rules against studentto-student interactions (Shukla, Kennedy, & Cushing, 1999). However, if the teacher creates situations for social situations to occur in the classroom through class work and other instructional strategies, students with disabilities could benefit from instruction in the general education classroom. Shukla, Kennedy, and Cushing (1999) found that peer support may be preferred to direct assistance from an aide for students with intellectual disabilities in the general education classroom. Their research also found that peer support could improve the quantity and quality of social interactions between students with disabilities and their peers.
Educational Inclusion for Students with Intellectual Disabilities Conclusion Although the topic of educational inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities continues to be a controversial topic, there are many effective research
based strategies for facilitating educational inclusion for students with disabilities. Historically, students with disabilities have been served in a separate location and services have been based on available options rather than providing options that serve the individual. By segregating students, individuals with intellectual disabilities do not have the utmost quality of education. Scott (1998) noted “even with extensive support, not all students can be taught effectively in typical settings all the time. This is the case for any student who requires learning support, including those without disabilities” (p. 401). In order for all students to be provided with the highest quality of education, educators must stop looking at an individual’s label of disability and start looking at what services and support the individual needs to be successful. With appropriate instructional adaptations, peer support, and teaching self-determination skills, individuals with intellectual disabilities can be successful in a general education classroom. I have found
Educational Inclusion for Students with Intellectual Disabilities in my experience as a teacher of students with educational disabilites, the quality of life for students improves tremendously when the students are served in an inclusive educational setting. I have observed the positive aspects
of my students developing friendships with peers of their same age. I have also observed the gains in academic
performance when my students are served in a more inclusive academic setting. The parents of the students with
disabilities offer a tremendous amount of positive feedback concerning the benefits of the inclusive academic setting.
Educational Inclusion for Students with Intellectual Disabilities References Carr, E.G., Dunlap, G., Horner, R.H., Koegel, R.L, Turnbull, A.P., Sailor, W., … Fox, L. (2002). Positive Behavior Support: Evolution of an Applied Science. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 4(1), 4-16.
Harrower, J.K. (1999). Educational Inclusion of Children with Severe Disabilities. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 1(4), 215- 230. Individuals with Disabilities Act Ammendments of 2004. 20 U.S.C §1400 et seq. Koegel, L.K., Harrower, J.K., & Koegel, R.L. (1999). Support for Children with Developmental Disabilities in Full Inclusion Classrooms Through Self- Management. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 1(1), 2634. Polloway, E.A., Lubin, J., Smith, J.D., & Patton, J.R. (2010) Mild Intellectual Disabilities Legacies and Trends in Concepts and Educational Practices. Education and Training in Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 45(1), 54-68. Renzaglia, A., Karvonen, M., Drasgow, E., & Stoxen, C. (2003). Promoting a Lifetime of Inclusion. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. 18(3), 140-149. Ryndak, D., Ward, T., Alper, S., Storch, J.F., & Montgomery, J.W. (2010). Long-term Outcomes of Services in Inclusive and Self-Contained Settings for Siblings with Comparable Significant Disabilities. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. 45(1), 38-53. Scott, M.L., Partington, J.W. (1998). Students with autism: Characteristics and Educational Programming. Singular Publishing Group. San Diego, CA.
Educational Inclusion for Students with Intellectual Disabilities
Shukla, S., Kennedy, C.H., Cushing, L.S. (1999). Intermediate School Students with Severe Disabilities: Supporting Their Social Participation in General Education Classrooms. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions. 1(3), 130-140.
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