Inclusive Education: Need of the hour

Inclusive Education: Need of the hour

Inclusive education happens when children with and without disabilities participate and learn together in the same classes. Research shows that when a child with disabilities attends classes alongside peers who do not have disabilities, good things happen.

For a long time, children with disabilities were educated in separate classes or in separate schools. People got used to the idea that special education meant separate education. But we now know that when children are educated together, positive academic and social outcomes occur for all the children involved.

We also know that simply placing children with and without disabilities together does not produce positive outcomes. Inclusive education occurs when there is ongoing advocacy, planning, support and commitment.

Inclusive education is based on the simple idea that every child and family is valued equally and deserves the same opportunities and experiences. Inclusive education is about children with disabilities – whether the disability is mild or severe, hidden or obvious – participating in everyday activities, just like they would if their disability were not present. It’s about building friendships, membership and having opportunities just like everyone else.

Inclusion is about providing the help children need to learn and participate in meaningful ways. Sometimes, help from friends or teachers works best. Other times, specially designed materials or technology can help. The key is to give only as much help as needed. Inclusive education is a child’s right, not a privilege. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act clearly states that all children with disabilities should be educated with non-disabled children their own age and have access to the general education curriculum.

Benefits of inclusive education

All parents want their children to be accepted by their peers, have friends and lead “regular” lives. Inclusive settings can make this vision a reality for many children with disabilities.

When children attend classes that reflect the similarities and differences of people in the real world, they learn to appreciate diversity. Respect and understanding grow when children of differing abilities and cultures play and learn together.

Schools are important places for children to develop friendships and learn social skills. Children with and without disabilities learn with and from each other in inclusive classes.

In inclusive classrooms, children with and without disabilities are expected to learn to read, write and do math. With higher expectations and good instruction children with disabilities learn academic skills.

Because the philosophy of inclusive education is aimed at helping all children learn, everyone in the class benefits. Children learn at their own pace and style within a nurturing learning environment.

Parents must focus on these points to promote inclusive education

ü  Encourage your child to participate in activities where she can meet children her same age with different abilities.

ü  Search the Internet for activities or organizations that your child may want to join.

ü  Help your child develop friendships with classmates or other neighbourhood children.

ü  Share your goals and expectations for your child.

ü  Know the rights you and your child have to an inclusive education.

What schools can do to promote successful inclusive education:

  1. Consider inclusive education first.

Special education services can be provided in many different settings. Schools are required to consider the general education class before considering any other setting for your child to receive special education services.

  1. Support each child’s learning.

Teachers support learning in inclusive classrooms in three ways. First, they teach so that students with differing abilities and learning styles can understand and participate. Second, they modify assignments when they are too difficult. Third, they model respect and encourage friendships.

Meeting Resistance

  1. Get and share information: Some schools do not support a family’s desire for inclusion, because they are used to providing special education services to students in separate classes. Or they may not understand how to make inclusion work for all children. Visit general education classes and separate classes for students with disabilities. Carefully explain to your child’s teachers, principal why you believe inclusive education would be best for your child. Share information with your child’s school about the benefits of inclusive education.
  2. Enlist the help of others: Sometimes it is helpful to bring in an expert or advocate. This person will make sure that your preferences about your child’s placement are heard. This person can also help explain the benefits of inclusive education and how to make it happen in your child’s school. You may find someone to help by contacting advocacy organizations, special education parent groups in your child’s school, and local colleges with teacher training programs.
  3. Become your child’s advocate: It takes time and energy to make inclusion happen in a school that is resistant to change. Stay focused on what you believe is best for your child. Listen carefully to the arguments against your child’s inclusion in a general education class and use what you learn to advocate for change. For example, if you are told that your child is not ready for the general education class, ask what supports could be provided to help make her successful in the class.


The author of this article is Asst.Professor Pioneer Institute of Professional Studies Indore. 


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