Inclusion and Disabilities
Inclusion and Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Negative or Positive Experience?
The number of children that display autistic traits keeps rising and the need for services is at an all-time high. Out of 10,000 children born, 60 to 100 children and families will be affected by autistic spectrum disorder (Gulberg, 2010). Autism is characterized by a lack of connection to other people, even parents, and an avoidance of interpersonal situations (Feldman, 2011). Children with autism also show limited, repetitive and stereotypical patterns of behavior, interest, and activities. Not one child with autism is the same as the next; each child has their own severity and indicators of autism. A child with intellectual disabilities and a gifted child can both be given the diagnosis of being on the autism spectrum, because of the wide range of severities. Many of these children will not attend special schools, but instead be included in the general education population by inclusion. Inclusion has been found to have a number of benefits for children with autism. In addition, negative perspectives have also come into play when discussing autism and inclusion. Furthermore, parents have the right to make decisions for their child on an individual basis.
Benefits of Inclusion
Whenever the benefits of inclusion are brought up the first component that comes to mind is: social interaction. The benefits of social interaction is the most important component for including children with autism in an inclusion, general education setting (Lynch & Irvine, 2009). The reason this benefit is so high within a general education setting is that interactions occur at a greater frequency. Typical peers that meet core standards are able to interact with others more efficiently when compared to other exceptional persons that may lack in social and communication skills. Children with autism are given more opportunities to communicate and interact when with typical peers.
Inclusion, furthermore, allows for the student with autism to observe positive role models for multiple aspects of success. Children with autism tend to be accepted at an elevated level by non-disabled peers then other disabled peers. Non-disabled peers are much more aware, observant and willing to help the student with autism then other disabled peers would be. Teachers have reported that inclusion allows for positive relationships and enhanced personal growth in children with disabilities (Lynch &Irvine, 2009). Differentiating instruction within developmentally appropriate curriculum that fosters knowledge and upstanding, process as well as product is key into having positive inclusion of a child with autism (Vakil, Welton, O'Connor & Kline, 2008).
Negatives of Inclusion
Although there are many benefits of inclusion when related to Autism, there are numerous downfalls. One is that social gains come at the cost of academic achievement of the student with...