Inclusion: Pros & Cons

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Page 1: Inclusion: Pros & Cons





Inclusion:Support For & Against

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Support For Inclusion

Support Against Inclusion




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What is Inclusion? Inclusion is “a term which expresses commitment to educate a child, to the

maximum extent appropriate, in the school and classroom he or she would otherwise attend. It involves bringing the support services to the child (rather than moving the child to the services)” (Causton-Theoharis & Theoharis, 2009, p. 43).

In the past, it was believed that the best way to educate students with and without disabilities was to educate them separately. More recently, however, studies are showing that inclusion settings may provide both academic and social benefits for all students.

It is the idea of a “one size fits all” classroom that many believe is the downfall of the inclusion movement. Special education legislation and research has recognized the need for specialized services and placements so that a student can receive what is their “free appropriate public education.”


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Support for Inclusion – One Child’s Story


*Click on picture above to view video content

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Support For Inclusion

Response to accommodating all students in the most appropriate educational setting.

Demands more local control in schools and classrooms and less bureaucracy in the state and district, and a focus on collaboration and a teaming of experts.

Celebrates diversity and has the philosophy of addressing the individualized needs of all students.

Implements many teaching strategies that are proven to be effective in education, through academic and social aspects such as cooperative learning, constructivist activities, and problem solving (Holahan & Costenbader, 2000).


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Academic Improvements Through Inclusion

6Rea, McLaughlin, & Walther-Thomas (2002)

% of Students Receiving C or Better in Respective Classes

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Academic Improvements Through Inclusion

7Waldron & Cole (2000)

% of Students’ Grades Improving Over 1-year Period

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Social Improvements Through Inclusion

Research Topics Results

• Social Competence • Students in inclusive model demonstrated more progress in social competence, communication skills, self-regulation, and choice

• Behavior • Students with disabilities improved in ability to manage their own behavior in social situations

• Social Skills • Students with disabilities who were in segregated classrooms showed a regression in social skills

8Cole & Meyer (1991)

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Social Improvements Through Inclusion

Research Topics Results

• Peer tutoring overall impact • Peer tutoring has shown to have a positive impact as “social tutors” on students with disabilities

• Peer tutoring impact on communication & academic skills

• Proven to be effective in teaching communication and academics to students with disabilities

• Peer tutoring impact on everyday life

• Students with disabilities have shown to use social strategies learned in peer-tutoring in everyday life

9Owen-DeSchryver, Carr, Cale, & Blakeley-Smith (2008)

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Support Against Inclusion


Full Inclusion


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Individuals with Disabilities Education


School districts and States make a “Free Appropriate Public Education” available to students.

Each student has an “Individualized Education Plan” which specifies the student’s needs, educational goals and services to be provided.

Students with disabilities are to be educated with their non-disabled peers to “the maximum extent possible.”

11(Apling,& Jones, 2002)

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Brown v. Board of Education

“In the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’

has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal”

(Russo, 1996, p. 1040).


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Effect on Non-Disabled peers

Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Kindergarten Cohort (ECLS–K) data is used.

Students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) are focus of study.

Limitations The presence of a student with EBD in a classroom is

not random Unable to control for variations in teacher scoring

Results Student with EBD scored significantly lower than typical

peers The negative spill over effect on non-disabled peers is

similar in size to the Hispanic-White achievement gap.13(Fletcher, 2009)

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Socialization Over Education?

“The purposes of IDEA include ensuring that all children with disabilities have available to

them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and

related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent

living” (U.S. Department of Education, 2007, sect. 1).


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Apling, Richard, & Jones, Nancy Lee. (2002). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Overview of major

provisions. Crs report for congress. Retrieved (2010, February 10) from


Causton-Theoharis, J., & Theoharis, G. (2009). Creating inclusive schools for all students. Education Digest: Essential Readings

Condensed for Quick Review, 74(6), 43-47.

Clark, Gary M., Field, Sharon, Patton, James, Brolin, Donn E., & Sitlington, Patricia L. (1994). Life skills instruction: a

necessary component for all students with disabilities a position statement of the division on career development and

transition. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 17(2), doi: 10.1177/088572889401700202

Cole, D. A. & Meyer, L. H. (1991). Social integration and severe disabilities: A longitudinal analysis of child outcomes. Journal of

Special Education, 25, 340-351.

Fletcher, Jason. (2009). The Effects of Inclusion on Classmates of Students with Special Needs: The Case of Serious Emotional

Problems. Retrieved from ERIC database. (EJ849859)


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Resources cont’d

Halles5. (2008, March 8). Inclusion at work in elementary school [Video file]. Retrieved from


Hanushek, E. A., Kain, J. F., Markman, J. M., Rivkin, S. G. (2001). Does Peer Ability Affect Student Achievement? Retrieved

from ERIC database. (ED476941)

Holahan, A., & Costenbader, V. (2000). A comparison of developmental gains for preschool children with disabilities in inclusive

and self-contained classrooms. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 20(4), 224-35.

McCarty, Kristine. (2006). Full Inclusion: The Benefits and Disadvantages of Inclusive Schooling An Overview. Retrieved from

ERIC database. (ED496074)

Najjar, J. (2006). Is Inclusion missing the whole idea?. Education Law and Policy Forum, 2. Retrieved from http://


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Resources cont’d

Rea, P. J. , McLaughlin, V. L. & Walther-Thomas, C. (2002).Outcomes for students with learning disabilities in inclusive and

pullout programs. Exceptional Children, 68(2). 203-22.

Russo, Charles. (Ed.). (2006). The Law of public education. N.Y.C., N.Y.: Foundation Press.

Owen-DeSchryver, J., Carr, E., Cale, S., & Blakeley-Smith, A. (2008). Promoting social interactions between students with autism

spectrum disorders and their peers in inclusive school settings. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental

Disabilities, 23(1), p. 15-28.

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. (2007). Idea regulations: secondary transition Retrieved


Waldron, N. & Cole, C. (2000). The Indiana Inclusion Study Year One Final Report. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Institute on

Disability & Community.

Wilson-Younger, Dylinda. (2009). Inclusion: Who Really Benefits? Retrieved from ERIC database. (ED507203)