Inclusion came by the way of Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 which gave the right of equal educational opportunity to children with disabilities. This was later reenacted in 1990 as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Supported by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, IDEA ensures that children, even with severe disabilities get the opportunity to receive a free public education in the least restrictive environment. E.J. Erwin (1993) said that ‘the true essence of inclusion is based on the premise that all individuals with disabilities have a right to be included in naturally occurring settings and activities with their neighborhood peers, siblings, and friends'.
[...] Margo Mastropieri (2001) gives a detailed account of her first year in teaching Special Education in grade levels 9 to 12. A lot of her students had problems in reading and this ranged from ‘complete nonreader to high-school level, grade appropriate reading”. Others have trouble “getting along with peers or teachers and following any school rules or regulations” and have probation officers visiting them regularly to check on their progress. She recounts how she was “unprepared for the day at the school-wide assembly when one of my students began picking his warts and flicking them at the girls to who were sitting nearby”. [...]
[...] The state can be very strict considering certain activities as violations, such as when a substitute is hired for a special education post or “when students with disabilities receive instruction from a teacher certified in special education but not in the disability area of the student” (Porter, 130). Special education teachers in inclusion settings work the hardest when it comes to actual teaching and understanding their students, not only as students but also as complete individuals who have special needs and attention. [...]
[...] One of my greatest successes were seeing some of my students graduate from high school ; one of my greatest disappointments was seeing some of my students graduate from high school with only first-grade reading skills, knowing that I had failed to provide essential instruction to move them to being better readers. I kept teaching because I enjoyed the challenges and loved working with the students. Every day was different and I felt like I could make a difference. In reflecting upon teaching experiences, it is key to examine what happens, what works, what makes someone resilient, and what makes someone love a job”. [...]
[...] From a historical perspective, Diane Bricker (2000), a pioneer for special education in an inclusion setting has recalled their studies of children with disabilities in the Peabody College in 1974. Children were recruited from families who were willing to engage in this experiment. the 1970s, there was no reservoir of knowledge about intervention strategies and no appropriate or adequate assessments or curriculum materials available” (Bricker, 14). About half the children in the program had identified disabilities such as Down's syndrome while the rest were developing without overt problems. [...]
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