To date, more and more students with disabilities are being moved out of self-contained special education environments into general education classrooms. This practice, commonly known as inclusion, is a very controversial issue today surrounding educators.
The article, "Growing with Inclusion: A Personal Reflection" deals with one teacher's experiences with inclusion classrooms. Although not quite sure where I stand on the issue of inclusion, it is important that we, as educators, listen to both the positive (which the author expresses) and negative sides to this very controversial issue.
Being a part of an inclusion classroom for the very first time can rack up some nervous feelings because there are so many areas that need to be touched upon. Not only does inclusion demand that teachers be knowledgeable in their subject area(s) but also in strategies and methods for accommodating children with special needs. Educators must also gain specific knowledge of the law.
We must better prepare ourselves mentally and physically, according to Dickson. There are concerns about how the "typically developing" students will interact and socialize with the child(ren) with special needs. Feedback from parents is also very important, because unlike the author's experiences, not all parents are going to agree with this practice.
Before actually taking any of these aspects into account, Jan Dickson makes a very valuable and valid point, and that is, "we must look at the child first, before the special need". She also states, "each child in the class must be valued first and foremost as a special, unique person and as a member of the classroom community". This is very important to remember because special needs or not, all of these children are enrolled in school to learn and to grow whether it be mentally, physically, socially, or a combination of the three.