Inclusion in schools is extremely beneficial to exceptional students in that it helps to develop successful social skills. Although exceptional students are without a doubt different, the process of inclusion can give students feelings of self worth and allows them to feel included in the education process.
Thanks to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, a free and appropriate public education is mandated for students with disabilities (Peter, 1994). Disabled students must be placed in the least restrictive environment. This environment must be closest to or in the general classroom. Here the student’s individual needs must be met through the students individualized education program (IEP). Federal law states that separate class placement is justifiable only when the nature of severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aides and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. According to Peter (1994), 80% of students with learning disabilities receive the majority of their instruction in the general classroom.
Fine (2000), says inclusion has been increasingly defined by successful lawsuits brought by parents of disabled students around the country. For example, Oberti v. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon School District. This case involved a New Jersey boy with severe disabilities. The federal judge decided full inclusion and said “Inclusion is a right, not a special privilege for a select few” (Fine, 2000).
Critics argue that placing a special education student in a regular classroom “will consume too much of an already overworked teacher’s attention” (Fine, 2000). Parents also worry that including the disabled students will lower the standard curriculum. An additional concern is that students with disabilities, such as ADHD, may pose as a physical threat as well as a disruption. The fact that teaching and including exceptional students is a challenge comes as no surprise (Fine, 2000). In a study by Hines (2001), 120 teachers from six schools were surveyed and it was found that their largest concern was ensuring that all students have an opportunity to learn.
Inclusion is linked with attitudes of individuals with and without disabilities. It is seen as a relationship that requires the effort of everyone involved. The Position Statement on inclusion posted by the government is as follows: 1. All students, including those with disabilities, should start in regular education. It then becomes the school’s responsibility to justify why a particular student should be removed from regular education. 2. Most unique learning and physical needs can be met within regular education. 3. Many students with disabilities need support services to be successful in regular education. Exact support should be written in the IEP. 4. Many regular education teachers need support, and every effort...