Pros and Cons of Inclusion

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Pros and Cons of Inclusion

Inclusion 'mainstreams' physically, mentally, and multiply disabled children into regular classrooms. In the fifties and sixties, disabled children were not allowed in regular classrooms. In 1975 Congress passed the Education of all Handicapped Students Act, now called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA mandates that all children, regardless of disability, had the right to free, appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. Different states have different variations of the law. Some allow special needs students to be in a regular education classroom all day and for every subject, and others allow special education students to be in a regular education classroom for some subjects and in a separate classroom for the rest. There are many different views on inclusive education. In this paper I will address some of the positive and negative views on inclusion and ways to prepare educators for inclusive education.


Perhaps the strongest argument for greater inclusion, even full inclusion, comes from its philosophical/moral/ethical base. This country was founded upon the ideals of freedom and equality of opportunity. Though they have not been fully achieved, movement towards their fuller realization continues. Integration activists point to these ideals as valid for those with disabilities, too. Even opponents agree that the philosophical and moral/ethical underpinnings for full inclusion are powerful. (SEDL, 1995)

Many agree that inclusion can be a positive experience for special education students, general education students and educators. Inclusive classrooms provide a diverse, stimulating environment for special education students. Vaughn and Klingner, 1995 found that special education students believe that inclusive classrooms provide them with more of an opportunity to make friends (Turnbull et al., 2004, p.70). Special education students who are included in regular education classrooms become part of a much larger learning community and they are able develop more of a positive self view.

General education students also benefit from the diversity of an inclusive classroom. Duhaney and Salend, 2000 found that parents of children without disabilities identified benefits for their own children such as greater sensitivity to the needs of other children, more helpfulness in meeti...

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...hanging concerns that their staff, parents, and others have as greater inclusion begins to be implemented. By attending to these issues, a more inclusive educational system is possible. (SEDL, 1995)

Works Cited

Douvanis, G. and Hursley, D. (2002). The Least Restrictive Environment Mandate: How Has it Been Defined by the Courts?. Arlington, VA: The Council for Exceptional Children. (ERIC Document No. E629).

Doyle, M.B. (2002). The Paraprofessional?s Guide to the Inclusive Classroom. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.

Goldstein, S. and Mather, N. (2001). Learning Disabilities and Challenging Behaviors. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.

Lindsay, G. (2003). Inclusive Education: a critical perspective. British Journal of Special

Education. 30(1).

Pappanikou, A.J. and Paul, J. (Eds.). (1997). Mainstreaming Emotionally Disturbed Children. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University.

Shank, M., Smith, S., Turnbull, A. & Turnbull, R. (2004). Exceptional Lives Special

Shore, K. (1986). The Special Education Handbook. New York, NY: Teachers College

Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. (1995). Inclusion: The pros and cons.

Issues?about Change.4(3).
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