Least Restrictive Environment

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inclusion. The extra attention given to a severely disabled child that is inclusioned into a regular classroom is drawing away the resources and efforts of the teachers that would normally be directed to the average student. What a waste of precious resources when a child’s disability is so severe that they can not truly benefit from inclusion. Supporters of full inclusion claim that the biggest obstacle they face is the attitudes of those involved (Mejia).

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There are schools that are very successful at applying inclusion practices. What enabled the success of these schools was the attitudes of the staff. Likewise, many of the failures of inclusion can be attributed to poor attitudes. Tim McConnell has been quoted for saying “the key to successful inclusion is deciding to make inclusion successful.” When administrators change their negative attitudes toward inclusion and begin to follow the proper procedures for implementing inclusion it will be successful. By law an individualized education program (IEP) must be developed for each student that has been identified as having a disability. If a specialist is required by the IEP than one must be provided for the student. Had this policy been properly implemented in the past maybe students such as Joe Murray would have felt as if he was achieving his full potential.

If a proper staff was assigned to Michael Taylor would that have been enough to prevent the rape and murder of Christine Smetzer? There is no definite answer to the above question but supporters of full inclusion would have you believe that “yes” these things could have been prevented if inclusion was implemented properly. When proper implementation of inclusion occurs more positive examples will come forth. The more positive examples that are presented the more apt people are to take a positive attitude toward full inclusion enabling for more and more successful inclusion programs. Those who support inclusion for the deaf claim “the average sixteen year old-deaf student can only read at the level of a hearing eight year-old” (The Disabled). If a deaf student can be placed in a regular classroom setting early in his education and given the proper support there should be no reason why he could not read and write at the same level of his hearing peers. Deaf children growing up in segregated schools are most often taught American Sign Language (ASL).

ASL is an entirely different language than English just as Spanish or French is. The problem is that if the deaf person lives in America everything from instructions to the closed captions on TV are written in English and not in ASL. Teaching the deaf to read and write proper English will help them to function in the community more freely. The same holds true with autistic children as well. Teach them young enough how to function in a normal classroom setting and they will behave accordingly. According to the Authors of Listening To Their Voices inclusive practices benefit the average student as well.

The book provides a reliable chart of how much is learned in different situations. The chart states that people learn: 10% of what they read 20% of what they hear 30% of what they see 50% of what they see & hear 70% of what they discuss w/others 80%of what they experience 95% of what they teach others Non disabled students who have disabled students participating in their classes have the opportunity to help the disabled student learn. As a result the non disabled student has a higher chance of retaining what is being taught. A teacher can still teach a lesson if the learning goals of the students in the class vary. It is the variance that allows students to help other students creating an atmosphere for more positive learning.The question still remains as to whether or not inclusion should be practiced as full inclusion. The answer is quite simple really, follow the law! Learning must take place in the least restrictive environment. In order to adhere to that section of the law both segregated schools and non-segregated schools must be made available to the disabled.

Then the due process of the law must be followed. Each individual that is suspected to have a disability must be evaluated by fair and impartial hearing conducted by a multidisciplinary team.These teams consist of the parents, the regular classroom teacher, one or more specialist and the school principal. It is at this time that parents can determine if they feel their child would benefit from regular classroom instruction or segregated classroom instruction. Where the law gets fuzzy is if inclusion should be mandated or not.

Logic should dictate in this situation and recognize that the parents are ultimately responsible for the education their child receives. Therefore the parents should have the right to research the school their child would be attending and make a determination as to whether or not that school can meet their childs needs. If the parents feel that their child would be better served in a segregated school where the instruction is geared solely toward that childs disability, then that school should be available to that child and her /his parents.

Works Cited Zak, Omer. “Deaf Persons and Experts Speak Out Against Inclusion.” 13 Jul. 1996. Internet posting. 3 Oct.

1998. Available WWW: htp://www.weiz mann.ac.

il/deaf-info/inclusion.html. Cohen, Leah Hager.

“Interpreter Isnt Enough!.” The New York Times. 22 Feb.1994. “Deaf Persons and Experts Speak Out Against Inclusion.” 13 Jul. 1996. Internet posting.

3 Oct. 1998.Available WWW: htp://www.weiz mann.

ac.il/deaf-info/inclusion.html. Murray, Joe.

“Mainstreaming Leads to Isolation – a Testimonial. 27 Feb. 1995 “Deaf Persons and Experts Speak Out Against Inclusion.

” 13 Jul. 1996. Internet posting.3 Oct. 1998.

Available WWW: htp://www.weiz mann.ac.

il/deaf-info/inclusion.html. Ormrod, Jeanne Ellis. Educational Psychology : Developing Learners.New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1995. Mejia, Tammy.

Personal interview. 6 Oct. 1998. Schlafly, Phyllis.”Full Inclusion Student is Convicted of Murder.

” Education Reporter. May 1998 Ratnesar, Romesh. “Lost in the Middle.” Time 14 Sep.

1998: 60 – 64. The Disabled.Greenhaven Press, 1997 Grosel, Laura, et al.

“Listen to Their Voices.” Thes. Ashland College, 1997. Bibliography Zak, Omer. “Deaf Persons and Experts Speak Out Against Inclusion.” 13 Jul.1996.

Internet posting. 3 Oct. 1998. Available WWW: htp://www.weiz mann.ac.il/deaf-info/inclusion.

html.Cohen, Leah Hager. “Interpreter Isnt Enough!.” The New York Times. 22 Feb. 1994. “Deaf Persons and Experts Speak Out Against Inclusion.

” 13 Jul.1996. Internet posting. 3 Oct. 1998. Available WWW: htp://www.weiz mann.

ac.il/deaf-info/inclusion.html.

Murray, Joe. “Mainstreaming Leads to Isolation – a Testimonial. 27 Feb.1995 “Deaf Persons and Experts Speak Out Against Inclusion.

” 13 Jul. 1996. Internet posting. 3 Oct. 1998.Available WWW: htp://www.weiz mann.

ac.il/deaf-info/inclusion.html. Ormrod, Jeanne Ellis. Educational Psychology : Developing Learners. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1995. Mejia, Tammy.

Personal interview. 6 Oct. 1998. Schlafly, Phyllis.

“Full Inclusion Student is Convicted of Murder.” Education Reporter. May 1998 Ratnesar, Romesh.”Lost in the Middle.” Time 14 Sep.

1998: 60 – 64. The Disabled. Greenhaven Press, 1997 Grosel, Laura, et al. “Listen to Their Voices.” Thes.Ashland College, 1997.