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Inclusion is a philosophical movement which advocates educating students with special needs in normal, mixed-ability classes, with students of the same chronological age, for all or nearly all of the day. Advocates of regular inclusion and full inclusion believe that special needs students "belong" to the regular classroom. Consequently, special education services are delivered within the normal classroom.
Inclusion compared to "full" inclusion Edit
In his textbook, Making Inclusion Work, Frank Bowe emphasizes the difference between regular inclusion and full inclusion.
Under regular inclusion, students with disabilities may spend two-thirds or more of the school week in general classrooms. They need not be physically located there all of the time. Rather, they may be pulled out for occupational or physical therapy, speech/language pathology, or other related services. This is very similar to many mainstreaming practices.
Under full inclusion, by contrast, students classified as disabled remain in general classrooms virtually all the time. Related services are provided via "push in," meaning that professionals enter the classroom and deliver assistance there.
Bowe argues that inclusion, but not full inclusion, is a reasonable approach for most students with special needs. He also cautions that for some students, notably those with severe autism spectrum disorders or mental retardation, as well as many who are deaf or have multiple disabilities, even regular inclusion may not offer an appropriate education.
Stainback and Stainback (1995), by contrast, propose that placement in general classrooms is a civil right. These advocates believe that schools should be restructured so that full inclusion can be provided for all students with special needs.
Relationship to progressive education Edit
Some advocates of inclusion promote the adoption of progressive education practices. In the progressive education or integrated classroom, everyone is exposed to a "rich set of activities," and each student does what he or she can do, or what he or she wishes to do and learns whatever comes from that experience. Maria Montessori's schools are one example of inclusive schools.
Arguments for inclusion Edit
The key argument in favor of inclusion is that even partial exclusion is morally unacceptable. It is argued that there are often very damaging effects that come from excluding any one particular group from mainstream society. Even if the intention is that this exclusion is for their own good, the exclusion results in the lessening of their importance in social terms. This group is much more easily overlooked. In the long term, society comes to treat this group in a way that is in line with its status.
Advocates assert that even if the mainstream of society benefits from excluding a group, that this is unacceptable behaviour.
A second key argument is that everybody benefits from inclusion. Advocates suggest that there are many children and young people who don't fit in (or feel as though they don't), and that an inclusive school feels welcoming to all.
See also Edit
- ↑  "philosophical movement", accessed October 21, 2007
- ↑  "Regular classroom with learning assistance", accessed October 15, 2007
- ↑  Definition of inclusion, accessed October 11, 2007
- Bowe, Frank. (2005). Making Inclusion Work. Merrill Education/Prentice Hall.
- Stainback, W., & Stainback, S. (1995). Controversial Issues Confronting Special Education. Allyn & Bacon.
- IDEAdata.org -- current statistics about IDEA, including the number of American children and youth who are educated all or most of the time in general classrooms.
- Kids Together, Inc. Information and resources for inclusion.
- Inclusion and Social Justice Articles - A directory of articles on the internet with a specific section on inclusion in education.
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