Inclusion in the classroom is an important part of education today. It recognizes that all children are part of the school community and ensures that children with disabilities are given the same opportunities to learn in a regular classroom as their peers.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) legislates that all children with disabilities are entitled to receive a free appropriate public education and the student be placed in a least restrictive environment (LRE) that meets their individual needs.
While the legislation can be confusing to understand, what this means basically is we are responsible for ensuring that children with special needs are included in regular classrooms doing age appropriate and curriculum based activities with and alongside their peers.
What are the benefits of Inclusion?
There are many benefits of inclusion for students.
Here are some of the positive results one can expect from inclusion in the classroom:
Increased social interactions and friendship building skills: Learning social skills and increasing social interactions can help students build friendships and develop skills for a lifetime.
Peer Based Role Modeling: Students are able to use each other as role models which helps reinforce responsible and appropriate behavior.
Promotes Diversity: We live in a diverse world where no two people are exactly alike. Inclusion in the classroom gives students an early start in understanding and accepting differences and being part of a community.
Increased Learning: When inclusion in the classroom is implemented, students are able to learn in many different ways and stay in tune to the curriculum.