"Special Education" is not a place. It is supports and services brought to students through their individualized education plan. The word "inclusion" in terms of education generally means that students with disabilities are supported in general education classes within their schools and that the students receive the specialized instruction they need within the context of the core curriculum. This paper will attempt to persuade the reader that the inclusion of children with disabilities within the general education classroom is a benefit, not a detriment, to the education process.
First there was mainstreaming, then integration, and now inclusion. At first, it may seem silly to keep revising the way services for children with disabilities are described. However, the words used describe the prevailing attitude. While the words themselves may not be terribly important, the attitude about including children with disabilities in activities with their peers truly matters. .
Many have heard horror stories about inclusion in general education: stories about the disabled student who is "dumped" into the general education setting and the other 20-30 students are ignored as the teacher's time is monopolized by the disabled student; or the cognitively impaired student who makes noises, screams, or otherwise disrupts the remainder of the class. However, these awful examples of inclusion are not what proponents of inclusion are advocating. .
There are advocates on both sides of the issue: one side views inclusion as a policy driven by an unrealistic expectation that money will be saved, while the other believe that all students belong in the regular education classroom, and that "good" teachers are those who can meet the needs of all the students, regardless of what those needs may be. This paper will present facts which support why inclusion of children with disabilities benefits the general education class as a whole.