A favorite read in my library, is The Illusion of Inclusion, edited by Kauffman and Hallahan. Contributing writers expound on the misguided mandate of Full Inclusion (FI) classrooms. In their preface remarks, the editors state that Full Inclusion” is “the merger of special and general education into a seamless and supple system that will support all students adequately in general schools and general education classrooms, regardless of any student’s characteristics.” The editors contend that some students with disabilities can function in the Full Inclusion environment, but not all students with disabilities. Kauffman and Hallahan believe that the idea of adequate support for those identified with exceptional education needs within FI environments is illusionary. I agree.
I am not against including children with leaning disabilities in general classrooms. That’s the goal of “mainstreaming” (placing handicapped children in the “least restrictive educational environment”.) However, mainstreaming is a goal, not a first line of provision.
For children with severe learning disabilities, the most appropriate setting is a self contained classroom, where individualized instruction is a daily and constant given, as mandated by the individualized education program (IEP) issued for children with an LD diagnosis. The self contained classroom offers the advantage of one-on-one instruction from a teacher specialized in special education; the small teacher-student ratio (usually no more than ten students, vs. up to 30 in a general classroom).
So, parents, if your child has been diagnosed with a severe learning disability, advocate for their placement into special education classes…they deserve individualized instruction…to truly learn today and thrive in tomorrow’s society.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves… ~Proverbs 31: 8