Inclusive education is a type of education wherein all students in a school, regardless of their strengths or weaknesses in any area, become part of the school community. A feeling of belonging among other students, teachers, and support staff is being promoted. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), of the United States of America, and its 1997 amendments make it clear that schools have a duty to educate children with disabilities in general education classrooms.
Case 4.7 is an attempt to include Charlie in a general education classroom. He is a 10-year old student who has manifestations of mental retardation and came from a self-contained classroom. A mentally retarded child is one with a developmental disability, both in his intellectual as well as adaptive functioning.
What was done incorrectly was the failure of the school’s Special Education Coordinator to let Charlie undergo first an evaluation before he was brought into the classroom. These should have been conducted first: medical examination, psychological testing, achievement test, adaptive behavior and other tests deemed necessary. Taking his age as the only basis, he was placed with the other kids in the fifth grade even if it wasn't the class where he would ultimately be placed as an in-depth assessment has yet to be conducted.
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To improve Charlie’s chances to succeed in a general education classroom, the teachers must help the other students understand and accept him as a student with special needs. Through education, non-handicapped students will learn to respect and understand the handicapped students as individuals. Positive interactions has to be promoted between Charlie and the non-handicapped students. He should feel comfortable, accepted and confident in his classroom for him to feel a sense of belonging in a new environment.
Case 4.7 3
Renaissance Group (1999). Inclusion. Retrieved March 7, 2008
Web site: http://www.uni.edu/coe/inclusion/
Ford-Martin, P.A. Answers.com, Health. Retrieved March 7, 2008
Web site: http://www.answers.com/topic/mental-retardation?cat=health
Leahy, M.E. Getting to Know Your Classmates with Special Needs. Retrieved March 7, 2008, from Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Web site: http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1992/1/92.01.05.x.html
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