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Dr. Mahshid Salehi Child & Family Psychologist Director, Dubai Center for Special Needs Member of the American Psychological Association Inclusion: a regional perspective
What is Inclusion? Inclusion is a philosophy of Education based on the belief that every person has the right to fully participate in society …Inclusion is a common acceptance of differences
Mainstreaming • The term “mainstreaming” is often times confused with inclusion in that it also involves providing a child with special needs and education in a general education classroom
History of Inclusion in the US • Until late 70’s, students with disabilities were typically placed in segregated school settings • 1970 saw researchers, policy makers, parents and educators seek out to integrate special and general education services • In 1975 the “The education for All Handicapped Children Act” • In 1990, Act was latter named “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)”
Inclusive Education The practice of welcoming, valuing, empowering and supporting diverse academic and social learning among students of all abilities is called Inclusive Education
Debate on Inclusive education Advocates of inclusion believe that: • Full inclusion is suitable for all students with disabilities • The same techniques in teaching and level of care that is found in a segregated school can also be implemented in an ordinary school setting • All children have the right to learn in an integrated class setting • Children should not be discriminated against by being excluded or sent away because of their disability • Children show improvement, academically and socially in integrated settings • All children need an education that will help them develop friendships and prepare them for life within mainstream society. • Segregation teaches children to be fearful and ignorant. This approach breeds prejudices
Advantages of Inclusive education • Friendships develop, non- disabled students are more appreciative of differences. • Students with disabilities are more motivated. • True acceptance of diversity ultimately develops within the school environment and is then carried into the home, work place and community.
Disadvantages of Inclusive Education • Children with special needs can have few opportunities to play sports, participate in social activities and make friends • Children with intellectual disabilities share no interaction with others. • This scenario is counterproductive and there remains a lack of systematic evidence on the impact of Inclusion on children with special needs.
When inclusion is not effectively implemented research has shown that it can be a lonely world for those with disabilities. Disadvantages of Inclusive Education
Results of various research projects and studies indicate that… “Inclusion may not be beneficial for all students”
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in the USA is one organization which supports the idea that full inclusion is not suitable for all those with disabilities Especially for: • Children who are medically fragile • Children with severe behavioral disorders • Children with severe physical disabilities
AFT’s main concerns Children losing the multi-disciplinary treatment when they are placed in a regular school Whether or not the Teachers are qualified to handle the child’s special needs The low adult-to-child ratio Children not receiving proper support to succeed
Inclusion in the UAE The current trend in the UAE is to encourage parents and teacher to allow the child to be mainstreamed or included in to the regular classrooms. It is believed by some educators that special needs students will benefit from social interaction with mainstream students and from the enriched educational environment
Barriers to Inclusive Education in UAE • Resistance to the idea of students with or without disabilities sharing the same classroom. 2. In most cases local schools are not staffed adequately to offer education to students with varying special needs such as • Hearing impairment • Visual Impairment • Physical challenges • Perceptive • Cultural • Emotional
Barriers to Inclusive Education in UAE 3. In most cases they need a multidisciplinary approach to teaching , functional life skills cannot be addressed in a mainstream setting 4. Architectural barriers prevent children with physical disabilities out of mainstream schools
Overcoming barriers • The multi-disciplinary services, such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, must be available • The building must be designed to accommodate students with physical disabilities (which includes: accessibility to the classroom, playground and all other facilities on campus) • Ensure availability of assistive technology and adaptive toys
Overcoming barriers • The classroom teacher must be properly trained and believe that the students with disabilities can succeed • The regular student body should be informed that a student with special needs will be joining the class • The teachers must be committed to collaborative practice in education • Policies and procedures must be in place to monitor the student’s progress and testing
Overcoming barriers Instructional Methods: • Teachers must have the knowledge and skills to adapt the curriculum to best suit the individual needs of the student • A variety of instructional methods should be available and utilized • Teachers must promote a cooperative learning environment and encourage socialization
Inclusion at the workplace • Recent government policy has delivered some significant improvements in the employment prospects of people with special needs • Increased awareness and acceptance has changed the mind set of the people in the community
A Team Built for Success: Student Training- Employer Support
Goals • Independent Living • Long Term Employment opportunities • Support for Employers
Inclusion at the workplace Five recommended areas of Intervention: 1) Providing effective early support and guidance to overcome the barriers they may face in order to work efficiently 2) Improving the skills and in-work support needed to enhance the employability of people with special needs 3) Connecting people with challenges with work by making transition to employment less risky and complicated 4) Engaging employers to improve the attitudes toward people with disability and their understanding of what it means to employ a person with special needs 5) Finally, building information networks to bring together and disseminate important information to people with special needs and to their employers, family and friends
Parents’ role in inclusion • Parents are their children’s first teacher; therefore, they should be able to work and communicate with teachers and decide what would be the best place for their child • One of the most important roles that a parent has, in addition to finding a right place, is to observe, monitor and support their children’s progress
EducationalSystem Community Parents Government Successful Inclusion Model