Today in class, we discussed the pros and cons of the "Inclusion' philosophy and the 'segregation" philosophy of teaching children with special needs, and the I believe that the heart of the issue truly lies in the incapability to accept differences. We have trouble wrapping our minds around the fact that someone can be in a different classroom and learn a different way, while still being just as "human" as the people learning in the "common" classroom. Because we, as a society, have not yet been able to embrace difference and allow for its presence, we seek comfort in assimilating people into the what we view as "the norm", most often established by the able-bodied. I believe that the able-bodied use assimilation as a way in which to escape the more difficult task of accepting and embracing difference. It is so much easier to understand your life and to demand that the "other" conform to your way rather then you changing your way of life. As discussed in class, either option regarding the best way to handle "special education" students involves some form of stigmatization and marginalization. Either the child is othered by the presence of their T.A. or the child is othered because they are placed in a separate classroom. Both involve the act of othering based on difference, and therefore both reveal the able-bodied students coherence to the able-bodied norm.. I believe that the debate surrounding this topic (inclusion versus segregation) subjugates the disabled, as it makes them pawns to the comfort of the able-bodied. Due to the stigmatization attributed to the disabled, the able-bodied feel that in order to "rescue" the disabled from the stigmatization that they face, it is best to "bring the disabled up" to the norm of the able-bodied;to treat the disabled as though their disability does not exist, rather than acknowledging that it does exist, and learning to live with the difference that the disability creates. By placing the disabled in a classroom that feels less separated from the able-bodied norm, the able-bodied feel comforted that the disabled are now are part of the able world and are therefore less different. This subtraction of difference means that there is no difference to overcome, and without a difference to overcome, the able-bodied are alleviated from the obligation to reverse the stigmatization and marginalization created against the disabled. I believe that instead of trying to find ways to equalize everybody's physical and mental capabilities, we need to find ways to simply be comfortable with the fact that there are discrepancies between peoples abilities, rather than try to artificially adapt people to different ways of life. Inclusion versus segregation should have nothing to do with "which world will he/she fit better into" but should everything to do with where will he/she learn best.
I found this site to have a good inclusion versus segregation explanation, and was one of the few that I found that did not advocate for one or the other.