Inclusion holds many pros and cons. The purpose of inclusion seems to be trying to put everyone on an equal playing field and feel welcome, but sometimes I wonder if it really does a good job doing so. While I think that there definitely needs to be wheelchair ramps (referring to ir a la escuela) available in all public places, I think that that sets a standard for creating all other equal public accesses.. such as bathrooms for transgenders and such. I think that inclusion is a positive thing for trying to include everyone, but at the same time I think it opens up the opportunity for putting people in a situation where they "stick-out" even more. For example, putting a child into a regular classroom as an attempt for inclusion puts the special education student in a situation where they are the minority, versus being in a special education classroom where they are one of many. Inclusion can take away from the special ed student who needs the special attention while also taking away from the regular student who loses attention due to the teacher needing to spend more time with the other student. But then again...what are we teaching our children if we do are constantly separating each other and putting labels?
Inclusion can be a great thing. It helps develop social relationships, both for the child with the disability and the children in the regular class. We encounter different people every day; the blind man walking down the side walk, the girl in the back of the lecture hall sitting at the wheel chair accessible table. If we aren't exposed to different people, we're missing a big part of our society. Also, for those with a disability that inhibits social abilities or skills, being part of a community like a classroom can help build confidence and skill. The child can learn, through mistakes and example, what is "proper" and expected of a student in a classroom. Yes, it may be difficult, but making connections with kids his/her own age is important.
It also has its downfalls though. Especially when they're younger, little kids freak out if someone gets something they don't. If one child has a "special buddy" aid, and the rest don't, it could cause conflict, isolating the disabled child even more. Also, it can be distracting to other kids if the disabled child's aid is constantly talking or moving around, or if the child has tantrum or get overstimulated.
My mom is an aid for a child with Asperger's and he is included in regular classes. She says nothing but positive things about how he is developing social skills and emotional control. Based on that, which may be a bit biased, I think inclusion has more positive effects than negative.
In the movie "Ir a la escuela" there were many barriers to inclusion at the public school. The school only had stairs at the main entrance, and had beautiful handicap accessible restrooms that they school did pay to maintain and have in working condition. This seems, aside from being unfair and insensitive to large population of handicapped and disable students at the school, very pointless, especially in the case of the restrooms. Why even pay to have handicap accessible restrooms installed in the first place if they are never going to be used? Another major barrier to that school was lots of the individuals higher up in the school system, who made IEP's very hard to figure out and difficult to schedule. Another major barrier is the fact that many of the parents and guardians who sent their children to the school didn't speak English. This made communication very hard between individuals who worked for the school and parents and caretakers. Thankfully, and luckily enough for parents and teachers in the area, offices were established to help solely with these problems. This was one barrier that people in that school system seemed to be working especially hard on, both with higher officials in the program as well as with parents and community members. People who work in the IEP office take lots of time to clearly explain what to expect and how to act, as well as what questions to ask to get needs met during the IEP. Improvements such as this will help not only the students involved, but the parents and the teachers as well.
Through the movie "Ir a la esceula" and the Berube readings many arguments for and against inclusion were mentioned. My first thoughts on Inclusion are there is no way that a person can ever be completely included. In my last blog entry on normalcy I stated roughly the same idea. There is this ideal human being that is perceived to be perfect, but I highly doubt there is a single human being on the face of the earth who is absolutely perfect. Whether there is an emotional, physical, or mental issue underlying in each individual, everyone has something in there life they wish could be better, at least I imagine so. In the film, one of the first ideas presented was that children go to regular schools, but are separated into "bungalows." There is a constant negotiation to whether children with disabilities should be included in a regular classroom setting and I believe they should. There is evidence that shows when a child is working and learning among other children who help them adapt to the "normal setting" shows improvement at school and at home. This is much more beneficial in my opinion they placing them in a classroom where they are with the same people who push them to be better everyday, where in a regular classroom there are 20 or so people who can be influential. I understand where parents of so called, "regular children" are coming from when they state that these special needs children may disrupt their child's speed of learning, but there is many other environmentally influenced distractions that could do the same thing. Whether it be the way the teacher teaches the material or a child who decides drawing on his desk is more important and the teacher must stop the whole class to make sure he is paying attention. When it comes to determining whether a child should be included or not, Berube creates a significant argument when he says that American Conservatives complain that "inclusion saps resources from "normal" and "gifted" students." He then later comes back to argue that disabled kids are not limited from getting help from one resource, they need many for the best improvement. They may have a teacher who works with them during certain parts of the day, but that one person can't teach them everything they need to know. At the end of the film we watched in class the quote. "Your dreams can be realized, set your goals, and achieve what you want in your future," was stated. This overall sums up my feelings about inclusion because I feel it suggests that every person needs to do what they need to help them develop in the best way possible, disabled or not.