The Effects of Inclusion on Mainstream Education

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In 1993 a woman by the name of Dee Begg filed a lawsuit against the school district office of Baltimore County, Maryland. She wanted her son Sean, a developmentally challenged eight-year-old boy suffering from Trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome, to be able to attend a public school with normal children. Down Syndrome is a genetic condition in which a person is born with forty-seven chromosomes instead of the usual forty-six causing both physical and mental handicaps. Children suffering from Down syndrome will often have a smaller than usual and abnormally shaped head. An abnormally large forehead, with their eyes slanting upward, small ears and mouth are just a few of the telltale signs. Children suffering from this disorder exhibit impulsive behavior, poor judgment, a shortened attention span, and slow learning. The average IQ of children suffering from Down syndrome is fifty, compared to normal children who’s IQ averages around one hundred. At the time, children with learning disabilities attended special schools with the specific purpose of teaching kids with special educational needs. Dee felt that by schools not allowing her son to attend, they were discriminating against him due to his condition. Dee took her lawsuit all the way up to the federal department of civil rights and had the current laws governing the placement of developmentally challenged children overturned. This made allowing children with learning disabilities to be included in mainstream education systems a requirement. The term coined for this process is know as inclusion. Following the verdict, Sean was immediately uprooted from his special education classroom of likeminded peers at Ridge school (present day Ridge Ruxton) and placed in a fist grad... ... middle of paper ... to be educated in a manner tailored to their specific needs while still introducing them to normal society. At the same time, normal children are exposed to mentally handicapped children so they know how to perceive them and interact with them when they encounter them later on in life. While special education schools such as Ridge Ruxton (which recently celebrated it’s fiftieth year of serving it’s community) are still open today, serving as an alternative for parents who feel their developmentally challenged child should not be part of mainstream education, inclusion has forever changed the way the public education system deals with children with learning disabilities. The initial catastrophe of full inclusion has yielded in it’s wake, a more developed, and ultimately effective system of partial inclusion of disabled persons in the mainstream education system.

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