Inclusion in Schools: Bridging the Gap
Providing A Continuum of Services
There are many different placements that are often considered for special needs students. Before understanding what inclusion is and how it benefits students, it is important to identify the different placements that are often considered for special needs stduents.
Hospital and Institutions
Day Schools for Special Needs (Schools that are just speial needs school based around disability ( schools for Children w/ Autism, blind, deaf, etc.)
Self Contained classes in regular schools
General Education Classes with Resource Room Services (where children spend part of their day in reg ed classes but most of day in Self-contained class)
Mainstreamed Classes with Pull-Out Services
General Education Class with Consultation (assistance comes into class to provide services)
What is Inclusion? What Does it Look Like?
Inclusion is the immersion of special needs students in the mainstream setting. It is based on a belief that adults work in inclusive settings and thus students with disabilities should be included in these settings to prepare them for the environments which resemble those in adult life.
What Does An Inclusive Setting Look Like?
Inclusion without resources, without support, without teacher preparation time, without commitment, without a vision statement, without restructuring, without staff development, won’t work. – Mara Sapon-Shevin
Inclusive classrooms look different all the time. A person will be likely to see Something different each time they walk in the inclusive classroom. Students are doing different things. and every student will be doing something different.
Learning centers may be the focal point of the inclusive classroom. Many students are working in small groups and a lot of social interaction occurs in the inclusive classroom.
The classroom is student centered and students have a lot of responsibility for Creating the community and all students know that they will be doing different things, taking away from the issue of Fairness.
The Law and Inclusionary Practices....
Legal History and the bgeinnings of Implementing Inclusion
Oberti V. Board of Education (1992/1993)
The 3rd Circuit Court developed a two-pronged approach to determining if schools were meeting the IDEA. The Court applied tests to determine if adequate levels of supplementary aids and services were adopted. The Court concluded no specific training, coordination, and communication with special education staff or planning had been done to deal with the student’s behavior problem. Therefore, the Court concluded that schools were required to make greater efforts to mainstream disabled student s or explain why not.
IDEA mandates that each state sets standards which determine the degree of Children with disabilities are educated with children without disabilities. Schools shall not remove or place children with disabilities outside the regular Education setting unless the severity of the disability cannot be met with aids and Supplementary services inside the general education setting.
Under IDEA, the Least Restrictive Environment should be followed for every student With a disability. Students with disabilities are entitled to participate with peers without disabilities To the maximum extent possible. Amendments to IDEA in 1997 provided a basis for including Regular Education Teachers and defining Supplementary aids and services. IDEA also revised its definitions to meet the needs of providing education in the Regular education setting to the maximum extent appropriate.
Adressing Concerns With the Implementation of Inclusion
Identify team members- who is needed to help plan for the student and what role do these team members play?
Identify strengths-seek input from multiple sources, ie parents and conduct an evaluation and interest inventory
Identify resources- make a list of supports needed and services needed
Student’s current program- what is used with the student in current placement, seek parent's input on what goals they would like to see
Classroom placements- what placement is most appropriate for the student
Select a classroom- recommendation and initiation of placing the student in the classroom
Schedule- detailed description of what the student’s day will look like and who will provide services
Transition- prepare the student for transitioning to a new class
Additional resources- prepare for any other resources needed (budgeting)
Technical assistance- Is it needed and who will be responsible for providing it
Training- clarification of responsibilities and roles, disability awareness, strategies for working with special needs students
Parent involvement- develop a system of keeping parents abreast of their child’s progress and any issues that arise
Student progress- monitoring and observation of student, meetings needed, etc
Teacher Competencies and Successful Modifications for Inclusion
In order for inclusion to be successful, there are certain competencies that teachers and other team members must have. A good inclusion plan will require excellent problem solving skills and will use student interests and motivations to guide the plan. However, this does not mean setting low expectations for the student. All students are capable of achieving if the bar is raised and they are given opportunities to shine.
Inclusion can be effective if teachers are willing to use what skills the student has and modify assignments and strategies to fit the needs of the student. This is a tough area for many educators but they are not willing to adapt their teaching style to fit each student in the classroom. However, when you have special needs students they have needs that must be accommodated if they are to be successful. Using many different instructional strategies and being flexible allows for successful inclusion to take place.
Listed below are some examples of adaptations that can be used in inclusive classrooms:
Size- reduce the number of terms on a test or worksheet
Time- pace learning differently for students, allow extra time
Level of Support- assign peer tutors or one on one assistant
Input- cooperative groups, hands on activities, visual aids
Difficulty- simplify directions, allow calculator, change rules to accommodate
Output- allow verbal responses instead of written, use hands on assessments
Participation- have student come up to classroom and hold maps, visual aids, etc.
Alternate- during a test a student might be learning skills on a computer
Substitute curriculum- provide different instruction and materials to meet the student's individual needs
Mobility- classroom could be more accessible to the student, student is permitted to get out of seat periodically
Room Arrangement- Alter setting of the room, rearrange desks, work stations, etc.
Seating Placement- Change student’s seat to discourage distractions, move closer to teacher or away from peers
Assistive Technology- Provide student with electronic aides if needed, computers, etc
Behavior Management- Provide a reward system, reinforcement, token economy, etc
Self Management- Have student manage behaviors, provide a daily chart for the student to do this
Benefits of Inclusion and How to Make it Work for your School
In a fifteen year study researchers found that the employment rate for those who were not included in regular education classes was 53& compared to 73% for those who were integrated in regular education classrooms (Piuma, 1989 as cited in WEA 2001). In one study the self esteem of nondisabled peers is improved (Staub, 1996). In addition, students who are disabled develop lasting friendships with those who are not disabled (Staub, 1996).
How to Make It Work
Address attitudes and values - Have involved persons identify what areas of inclusion they are comfortable with and what they are not comfortable with.
Information - Read books, watch videos, talk to teachers of inclusive classrooms, do simulation activities for an inclusive classroom, visit inclusive schools to get information to build self-confidence and self-esteem for teachers and students to be part of inclusive education.
Application - Take the risk with a support system in place to be receptive and willing to accommodate children with greater needs. This takes leadership from principals, teachers, and students and means a whole attitude of acceptance, tolerance, and respect.
Vision and Agenda - With this goal in mind, administrators can provide the vision of how a school will look it if educates all of its students. From there, administrators can help plan the agenda for achieving those goals. Determine the role of each staff member in the pursuit of this goal.
Structure and Organization -Administrators can facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration by removing the barriers to change. They may need to restructure the school day to include release and planning time for collaborators, scheduling changes, and various forms of technical assistance such as decreasing class size, providing paraprofessional assistance (Wood, 1992).
Staff Training - Staff training, continuing education, and ongoing professional development opportunities will be necessary. Administrators can support teachers in inclusive schools by providing inservice training that addresses teacher-identified needs; employing competent personnel to deliver the training, offering incentives to educators.
Models of Inclusion
What Works Best for Your School?
ideal for smaller schools and low incidence of special education students. The special education teacher is made available to reteach a difficult skill or to help the student(s) practice a newly acquired skill. Requires at least two teachers. Regularly scheduled meetings are recommended rather than communica tion on an as-needed basis.
The special education teacher is assigned to one grade level team with one planning period per week for the team. The special ed teacher provides student information, possible instructional strategies, modification ideas for as signments/tests, and behavior strategies. The team meets on a regular basis, establishing consistent communication among the team members. All team members work together a from special education teachers to regular education teachers.
Collaborative, Co-teaching Model
Using this model, the general education and special education teachers work together to teach students with/without disabilities in a shared classroom. Both are responsible for instruction planning and delivery, student achievement, assessment, and discipline. Students receive age-appropriate academics, support services, and possible modified instruction. This model provides a minimum of scheduling problems, continuous and ongoing communication between educators, and lower student to teacher ratio than the teaming or consultant models.
Making Inclusion Work
- MAKING INCLUSION WORK
Tips and information about inclusion and how to make it work.