The academic and social benefits of inclusion
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The Academic and Social Benefits of Inclusion. By Lauren Varga and Jen Gudelski. What is Inclusion?.

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The Academic and Social Benefits of Inclusion

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The Academic and SocialBenefits of Inclusion

By Lauren Varga and Jen Gudelski

What is Inclusion?

  • Inclusion is the educational practice of educating children with disabilities in general education classrooms in their neighborhood schools and providing them with the necessary services and supports.

Why are the Academic Benefits of inclusion so important?

  • A combination of push in and pull out make inclusion most successful

  • Peer to peer learning with limited teacher guidance

  • Diversifies abilities in the classroom which acknowledges the fact that all students have something to contribute

  • The feeling of being accepted academically not just socially

  • Teachers must use flex groups and collaboration to maximize learning

Academic Benefits of Inclusion for Students with Disabilities

  • Learn through peers thinking

  • Students know they can do whatever one else is doing

  • Strong academically especially in language arts activities

  • Transitions to other grade levels is easier

  • More likely to be on task

  • Develop more problem solving skills

  • In general more enhanced learning experience

  • More likely to learn through technology

  • Increased achievement of IEP Goals

Academic Benefits of Inclusion for Students without Disabilities

  • Shared ideas-learn from everyone not only peers on same ability level

  • Opportunities to master concepts through practice and teaching others

  • Develop more problem solving skills

  • More likely to learn through technology

  • Greater academic accomplishments

  • All students needs are meet, greater resources for everyone

  • Academic role models

Academic Benefits of Inclusion for Teachers

  • Provide knowledge, skills, and information to all students

  • Tailor learning to meet individual needs

  • Use of technology to support learners

  • Encourage co-teaching and collaboration

  • Maintain high expectations for all students

  • Engage in continuous improvement for all students as well as professionally

Why are the Social Benefits of inclusion so important?

  • Social relationships play an important role in a child’s well-being

  • Friendships and social interactions help develop social skills and abilities

  • Being rejected by peers can result to isolation later in life

  • Feeling socially included builds confidence and increases happiness

Social Benefits for Students with Disabilities

  • Have greater opportunity to learn appropriate social skills from typical peers

  • In increase in social, communication and behavioral skills

  • Provides students with social opportunities similar to experiences they will encounter in the real world

  • Opportunities to develop reciprocal friendships

  • Increase in language development and ability to advocate for themselves

  • On average 2 to 8 time greater Happiness 

Social Benefits for Students without Disabilities

  • Greater tolerance, acceptance and understanding of others

  • Encounter satisfying friendships and companionships

  • Realize their own strengths and weaknesses

  • Learn to work with a variety of needs – which prepares them for the real world

  • Children who are quiet or shy have the opportunity to take a leadership role

  • Become advocates for students with disabilities

  • More likely to go into helping professions (teaching, nursing, and medicine)

  • Greater self-esteem 

Social Benefits for Teachers / Families/ Communities

  • Teachers

    • More apt to build relationships with colleagues from a variety of fields

    • Gained personal satisfaction when watching relationships develop

    • Become advocates for students with disabilities

    • Have more opportunities to use communicative devices

    • Greater opportunities to have meaningful discussion about diversity

  • Families

    • Feel more included in the school and community

    • Become advocates for children with disabilities

    • Increased expectations and positive attitudes

    • More involvement and support for school programs

  • Communities

    • Members realize the potential of all children

    • Members promote independence for children with disabilities

    • Experienced reduced fear of human differences / increased awareness

    • Become advocates for early intervention

Recommendations for Teachers

  • Classroom climate of high acceptance and high expectations for all students

  • Social Skills Instruction: create social activities to promote interactions, providing some information about the disability

  • cooperative grouping arrangements

  • Students with disabilities need to be evenly distributed among the classrooms

  • Educate families about the disabilities

  • Advocate for your students with special needs and advocate for all your students

  • Provide Social opportunities in the Summer months

  • Work closely with the specialists to analyze the effectiveness of the program. Make changes, if needed

Recommendations (continued)

  • Recognize their central responsibility for all students that they teach

  • Engage with a teacher community (i.e. collaborate)

  • Develop a shared philosophy around respecting everyone in the class and their learning

  • Carefully plan group work-assign roles to all group members

  • Explore student understandings, encourage questioning, and link new and prior knowledge

  • Utilize students as a resource for learning

  • Work on skills in a holistic way

  • Use activities which the learner finds meaningful

  • Use different strategies that incorporate hands-on and diverse opportunities to engage with concepts as well as others understandings


  • What experiences have you had in an inclusive setting? What kinds of benefits did you observe? Any concerns?

  • Do you believe inclusion should continue, as is? What would you change about the inclusive programs that you’ve seen? How can, we as teachers, improve inclusive settings?

  • In the future, do you believe self-contained educational settings will become obsolete?

This Video highlights the Social Benefits of Inclusion


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