Commonsense Methods for Children with Special Needs: Strategies for the Regular Classroom

Commonsense Methods for Children with Special Needs: Strategies for the Regular Classroom

Commonsense Methods for Children with Special Needs: Strategies for the Regular Classroom

Commonsense Methods for Children with Special Needs: Strategies for the Regular Classroom

Excerpt

Since the publication of the first and second editions of this book much has changed in the overlapping fields of special and regular education. In particular, special education has moved closer to a merger with regular education, driven in this direction by the current philosophy of ‘inclusive schooling’ (Sebba and Ainscow 1996). The inclusive schooling movement, building upon the earlier trend toward mainstream integration of students with disabilities, presents the view that all children have the right to be educated in regular schools and to have an equal opportunity to participate in the mainstream curriculum.

The 1970s and 1980s saw a gradual increase in the number of students with milder forms of disability and learning difficulties retained in regular classrooms. Since that time there has been active campaigning to have students with more significant disabilities also receive their education in the mainstream. Extreme advocates of ‘full inclusion’ (e.g. Lipsky and Gartner 1989; Stainback and Stainback and Stefanich 1996) argue that any form of segregation of students with special needs is socially unjust and a denial of their rights to be exposed to the same broad range of learning experiences enjoyed by all other students. They wish to see students with even the most severe forms of disability placed in regular schools and receiving any special services they need in that setting. Less extreme supporters of inclusion suggest that the needs of students with significant disabilities are best served by retaining the full range of placement options, including special schools and special classes for those who need them. Special services should be organized in such a way that students with severe and multiple disabilities can more easily join with mainstream students on a frequent and regular basis (e.g. Fuchs and Fuchs 1995; Smelter, Rasch and Yudewitz 1994).

There is an obvious commitment now in most developed countries to move toward a policy of inclusive schooling. To this end, effective ways of including students with moderate to severe disabilities are being investigated and evaluated at school and classroom level (Farlow 1996). In reality, catering for such a diverse range of students in the regular classroom is far from easy, and requires very careful planning, gradual implementation and

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