If factors make it unrealistic to fully include students with significant disabilities, consider some of the following ways to facilitate integration. One of the main goals of CBI is to help students generalize skills from the classroom to the “real world”, thereby helping them become integrated members of their communities.
One of the most debated topics in special education is inclusion. The (broken link) (broken link) (IDEA Amendments, 1997) requires that children with disabilities be included in general education classes to the maximum extent possible (Bloch, Weinstein, and Seitz, 2005). Some schools choose to educate students with significant disabilities in self-contained classrooms. Other schools have discovered some of the benefits of (broken link) (broken link) .
Many teachers and administrators ask, “Is it truly feasible for all school systems to appropriately serve all students within an inclusion model?” As Kochhar and West (1996) explain, age and grade-appropriate placement is the most controversial component of inclusion because it is based on ideals, values, and goals that are not congruent with the realities of today’s classrooms. Fortunately for the students, inclusion is not an “all or nothing” venture. If factors make it unrealistic to fully include students with significant disabilities, consider some of the following ways to facilitate integration.
One of the main goals of CBI is to help students generalize skills from the classroom to the “real world”, thereby helping them become integrated members of their communities. This goal may be the ultimate form of inclusion and keep in mind, the school is a significant part of a child’s community.
It may not be feasible to fully include all students with significant disabilities in all classes. Consider each student on an individual basis for inclusion to the greatest extent possible. Elective classes such as art and music may be a good place to start. Keep in mind that the goal is to eventually include your students in academic classes.
Meals and assemblies are great times for students to interact with peers. Participation in (broken link) (broken link) is a wonderful way to build self-esteem for your students as well as disability awareness for his/her peers.
Inclusion Press Resources, newsletter, and information for all things inclusion. http://www.kidstogether.org/ Grab your lunch. There is enough excellent information on inclusion here to occupy you for quite some time.
Bloch, J., Weinstein, J., & Seitz, M. (2005). School and parent partnerships in the preschool years. In D. Zager (Ed.), Autism spectrum disorders: Identification, education, and treatment (3rd ed., pp. 229-265). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Kochhar, C., & West, L. (1996). Handbook for successful inclusion. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers, Inc.