Inclusion for people with disabilities involves practices such as accommodating them in the activities and routine practices with other non-disabled people. in the education sector, the number of people living with disabilities varies significantly with the education systems and the commitment of governments to facilitating education for all people. Inclusion assists the students with disabilities to learn to relate with other students without feeling neglected in the society. The students with disabilities in different grades before they join college should be given a chance to relate with their counterparts in various activities including academics, sports, and leisure. In the general classroom setting, at least one in every fifty students is disabled either physically or mentally. Physical disabilities involve aspects such as blindness, lameness, and dumbness. On the other hand, mental disabilities involve aggression and cerebral palsy which affect the functioning of the brain. It is important to accommodate the students with disabilities in various school activities to give them a chance to participate in activities which assist in their development and growth.
I interviewed two teachers; one was a special educator while the other one was a general educator and sought to understand their opinions in relation with special education and inclusion. As part of the interviews, I asked the teachers the following questions and they provided answers.
When I asked them about the most challenging issue encountered when teaching students with disabilities, they had different opinions.
Special educator’s response:
Teaching students with disabilities is fun if the teacher develops passion in helping the students fulfill their dreams. However, teaching such students requires a person with a willing heart and ready hands to help the children achieve the same educational standards as their counterparts. Students living with disabilities deserve to be included in learning just like other students because they have moral rights to be included in learning. Just like other children, disabled children are children and they need care. They should benefit from different experiences at school if they are not discriminated based on their physical state. Inclusion in learning is important for such children in modeling of academic, behavioral, and social skills.
General educator’s response: The equipment and systems which support teaching students with disabilities is the most challenging part of teaching the students with disabilities. For instance, braille services are missing in most schools to assist in teaching students with vision problems and this forcers many blind students to drop out of school.
The students with disabilities have civil rights and should not be separated from other students. They should be treated equally with other students. Children living with disabilities deserve to be in the same class rooms, schools and share different facilities with their non-disabled counterparts. The friendship these students make should be normal friendships and their friends should not make them favors based on their conditions. These children are also entitled to ethical and parental rights and this gives them a sense of belonging, value and worthiness. This improves their abilities in the classroom setting by promoting diversity. The civil rights act protects the rights of all minority groups in the US and children with disabilities are part of the minority groups.
When I asked them how they ensure they give equal opportunities to all students, the teachers responded differently.
Special educator: I ensure I have understood different needs and interests in all students to be able to attend to individual needs. Students with disabilities in most cases require increased attention as compared to the other students. I go an extra mile to provide individualized attention to special cases.
General educator: I give equal attention to all students regardless of their disability condition. This helps the students with disabilities to believe that they have equal abilities with their friends and they end up performing well.
When I asked the teachers how they developed class management strategies, they responded as below.
Special educator: Teachers play an important part in the inclusion of students with disabilities in different school activities. The mentality of teachers in the classroom setting influences other students to relate either positively or negatively with their friends with disabilities. Teachers need to distribute learning activities evenly with consideration of the levels of disability in students.
General educator: first of all, I seek to understand the number of students in a classroom and the individual attributes of each of the students. Then, I develop a plan to incorporate all the learners in the classroom activities. Classroom management requires patience and objectivity in understanding the individual attributes and desires of all students. According to the article The exceptional child, the students living with disabilities who are actively involved in different activities perform better than those who are discriminated (Allen & Schwartz, 2001). According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), students living with disability have the right to have access to good education and discrimination against them in an offense that can lead to prosecution.
When I asked the teachers how they adapt quickly to the classroom settings, they responded as indicated below.
Special educator: the desire of most children is to get attention from teachers. Whenever there is a problem, I always get to the students and try to inquire what the problem is and find a solution to the problems.
General educator: I advise the students to do good things always and find out what is bothering them. When there is a serious problem, I take the students out for an outdoor activity.
Implementation of research findings in the classroom
According to the research, the classroom setting should incorporate the needs of all students and give a chance to the students with disabilities to showcase their abilities. Curricular adaptations are critical for students with disabilities as they assist them to achieve education standards just like other students. Disabled students should be exposed to technologies which improve their learning and help them acquire academic skills just like others. There are different academic expectations for students living with disabilities that they need to achieve, and it is important for teachers to assist them reach specific expectations (Bristol, England), 2011). Their level of achievement must not necessarily be those for other students, but they need to set and achieve goals which are relatively high. Academic and social ability of children living with disabilities are not limited to their state and there are some instances where the students are brighter than their counterparts in school. Modification of the education sector is critical to motivate the students living with disabilities. Technology improvement is likely to assist them receive education just like other students. Individual learning practices should also be adopted in schools to help the K-12 students living with disabilities cope with life easily. These students have individual needs that should be addressed differently, and they need specialized attention from their teachers at school. Most of the research findings were implemented in the classroom setting and inclusion of the students with disability has been given priority. There are many technological innovations which have been developed to ensure that learning in classrooms for students with disabilities is easier. Blind students use advanced braille services as opposed to the traditional braille.
Inclusion classrooms should bring together general education teachers and special education teachers to the service of helping all children. The teachers should help meet the needs of disabled students by helping them live to achieve their academic dreams. Learners should understand that disability is not inability so as to have a positive attitude in life. Additional resources which are relevant in learning for disabled students are critical in their development and teachers and school managements should lobby for better resources to help the students live normal lives while at school. Ramps for instance assist lame students to move with their wheelchairs from one point to another with ease. On the other hand, braille services are critical in helping blind students learn to read and write.
Inclusion reduces stigma for disabled students. Inclusive learning environments have a diversity of learning goals which should be achieved by all students regardless of their physical and mental conditions. Stigma discourages the students from achieving their academic and social goals. In the article Teaching and learning in diverse and inclusive classrooms, Inclusive classrooms are more effective in reducing stigma than normal classrooms and it is evident that these learning environments are more productive in learning (Richards & Armstrong, 2016). When disabled students are actively involved in activities with others, they realize that they have more features in common than they thought, and this motivates them to work hard in class. Inclusion also guarantees higher education for all. Students with disabilities find a chance to join colleges after they are done with K-12 just like other students. Effective use of resources is also evident in inclusion. Students will utilize different resources well when they are exposed to the resources which are essential to them and leave other resources for disabled students. Inclusion increases the levels of expectations for all students and helps them maintain different standards in learning. Research has shown that IEP programs are essential in providing services and standards which help students with disabilities to perform to their full potential.
There are many benefits related to inclusion of children with disabilities in learning. The friendships these children are entitled to are more meaningful. Teachers should initiate programs aimed at guiding other children to embrace those with disabilities. Social friendships help the disabled children to live healthy lives. According the article entitled Developing learning in early childhood, they feel appreciated and the treatment they receive from fellow students makes them feel accommodates and their academic abilities are improved in the process (Bruce, 2004). When the children with disabilities are involved in meaningful relationships with teachers and other K-12 students, the social initiations help them to form a network in the learning process. Social life is important in the development of cognitive and social skills in students especially after kindergarten. When the disabled students are included in learning, they get role models to in education and always strive to attain the character and skills of these people.
Inclusion guarantees achievement of IEP goals in learning. Individualized educational programs are important in learning in schools since they show the level of success that students achieve with time. According to the article Developing learning and participation in schools the ministry of education should come up with procedures to ensure disabled students achieve their academic goals effectively (Booth, 2011). IEP goals are a sign of measuring progressing the learning process especially before the students get to college. Special education teachers improve the learning process of disabled students and help them achieve their academic goals. These teachers determine whether the students will love the education system or hate it depending on how they interact with the students. Parents play an important role in the success of students living with disabilities. The students spend most of their time at home and parents should motivate them on different issues and help them on how to live with others effectively. Other students can also help disabled students to achieve different goals and this depends on how they are treated.
Inclusion leads to greater access to the general curriculum for children with disabilities. There are many curriculum developments that teachers and students need to be aware of to improve learning processes. The education system focuses on diversity in learning and equality in service provision. When students living with disabilities are entitled to equality, they develop many skills which make them be positive about life. According to the article Changing teaching and learning in the primary school, the school curriculum is critical in helping disabled students live normal lives and attains their goals better (Webb, 2006). Curriculum development also improves the way disabled students are treated and the opportunities they are entitled to in the learning process. Skill acquisition for disabled children depends on proper inclusion techniques for different curriculums.
In conclusion, inclusion is vital in learning especially for K-12 students. Inclusion helps disabled learners to live normal lives and give them an opportunity to attain their academic and social goals. Inclusion also reduces discrimination which results to stigma. It is important for students with disabilities to be given an equal chance with normal students. Resource allocation for classrooms and schools with cases of disabled students should be designed in such a way that it improves the life and performance of the students. The curriculum is essential in helping the students with disabilities to attain better learning experiences and standards.
Allen, K. E., & Schwartz, I. S. (2001). The exceptional child: Inclusion in early childhood education. Albany, NY: Delmar/Thomson Learning.
Booth, T., Ainscow, M., & Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education (Bristol, England). (2011). Index for inclusion: Developing learning and participation in schools. Bristol: Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education.
Bruce, T. (2004). Developing learning in early childhood. London: P. Chapman Pub.
Richards, G., & Armstrong, F. (2016). Teaching and learning in diverse and inclusive classrooms: Key issues for new teachers.
Webb, R. (2006). Changing teaching and learning in the primary school. Maidenhead: Open University Press.