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Inclusion Paper

Final Inclusion Position Paper:

Including Students with Special Needs

Lauran Herring

NC State University

Inclusion Paper

In my initial paper I admitted that I never had many experiences with student with special needs and that when hearing the phrase "students with special needs" I immediately thought of the trailers behind the school. I told of my few experiences consisting of a friend with a visual impairment, a classmate who was emotionally disturbed, and by brother who has ADHD. I didn't know enough about students with disabilities to make any solid judgments so I just told about how my teachers handled the situations and how the students acted. Now after taking this class I know so much more.

Starting at the beginning I have learned what to do if you think a student has a disability, try a few different strategies in your classroom, contact parents, and so on, ending with testing, I've learned about laws and acts protecting these individuals like IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; I've learned many of the acronyms, too many to lists; I've learned different strategies in the classroom; I've learned about accommodations, IEPS, and so much more. Through the Applications in Teaching assignment I learned all about how to use the INCLUDE strategy in the classroom, what I should do when I get a student with a disability that I have little knowledge about, many strategies for remembering information for tests including self-advocacy, selfmonitoring, and self-questioning, and finally for the Applications in Practice I learned how to accommodate a student with a disability without singling him/her out.

The movie project was my favorite. I loved watching the movie "I Am Sam" and trying to figure out what kind of disability Sam had and how I would help him out if he

Inclusion Paper was my student. Although Sam was a grown man with autism trying to keep and raise

his daughter Lucy, he had the mindset of a seven year old so it was almost easy to view him as a young student. In an everyday classroom Sam would have needed lots of encouragement and many accommodations including extra time, step by step instructions, little distractions, read aloud, separate setting, a set routine, and guided notes just to name a few. Sam was a very dedicated, loving, and strong father but because of his disability he was looked down upon by society. This is one thing that I really learned; No matter if you have a disability or not you deserve the same treatment as everyone else, the disability does not define who you are as a person. As Sam would quote, "All you need is love."

The group project was fun and informational as well. As a group we made a class room of 34 students come to life and got even more involved with our four students with disabilities. As a group we figured out how we would help our students out so they could function just as well as the other 30 students. We gave each student IEP goals and we really became attached to these student and wanted them to succeed in our imaginary classroom.

The benefits of inclusion are many and are not just for students with disabilities. Inclusion benefits everyone involved. Some benefits for the students themselves include:

Friendships Increased social relationships and networks Peer role models for academic, social and behavior skills

Inclusion Paper Increased achievement of IEP goals Greater parent involvement The feeling of being "normal"

Along with that is the benefits for students without disabilities which includes:

Meaningful friendships Increased appreciation and acceptance of individual differences Increased understanding and acceptance of diversity Respect for all people Prepares all students for adult life in an inclusive society Opportunities to master activities by practicing and teaching others

Of course with benefits always comes concerns but I personally believe that they are fewer. Some include:

Socialization could take precedence over academics Some students with need the special education classroom to get the maximum benefit of their education.

Might leave the regular education classrooms with low self-esteem and low self-concept Might be teased or harmed

I see the argument for these disadvantages but I think these would only be detrimental effects if inclusion was not implemented appropriately. If students are thoroughly informed about their peers' disabilities then they won't be so quick to judge or pick on them. Students with disabilities would also not leave the classroom with a low

Inclusion Paper self-esteem if their peers were instructed on how to be helpful and not harmful, and at any school the goals is to educate and if teachers and administrators remember this then socialization will not take precedence.

One chapter that particularly caught my interest was Chapter 10, Strategies for independent Learning. I am a sucker for an acronym! I form them all of the time when studying for tests or when I need to remember something important. They help me so much and I'm sure they help many other people too. I have also never been a very strong reader so when I looked over the Reading Comprehension Strategies it really hit home. I will be glad to introduce any strategies that I can to my students with and without disabilities. I just want all my students to be successful and if that means a few accommodations I will gladly allow them. Chapter 10 will be very useful in all of our future endeavors.

Lastly, I want to talk about two websites that I found during this course. One for the second internet assignment, and one for when we were looking up information about students with ADHD. The website I found for the second internet assignment (schoolmentalhealth.org) had so many tips for teaching students with ADHD, Autism, Learning Disabilities, Mental Retardation, and Traumatic Brain Injury. The site offers school mental health resources for clinicians, educators, administrators, parents, families, and students. The resources on the site emphasize practical information and skills based on current research. This site is a huge resource and will help enhance school mental health promotion, prevention, treatment, and referral and will provide practical tools for improving school environments. Finally the website that I found when

Inclusion Paper looking up tips for teaching students with ADHD (teachingchannel.org) is a video showcase of inspiring and effective teaching practices in America's schools. Their mission is to help teachers learn, connect, and inspire each other to improve the outcomes for all students with and without disabilities across the United States. It is a great tool to turn to if you need a quick pep talk or a strategy to use in your classroom for a student with a disability.

After taking this course I feel much more prepared to teach students in my classroom that do have disabilities. I have really enjoyed learning about these students and the many ways to help them. And, in my future classroom I will encourage all of my students and let them know I have high expectations for them. I want every student to be successful in my classroom, whether they have a disability or not.

Inclusion Paper Works Cited

(2009, ). Retrieved from SchoolMentalHealth.org website: http://www.schoolmentalhealth.org/index.html

(2012, ). Retrieved from Teaching Channel website: https://www.teachingchannel.org/

Berg, S. L. (2004). The advantages and disadvantages of the inclusion of students with disabilities into regular education classrooms. The Graduate School: University of Wisconsin State. Retrieved from http://www2.uwstout.edu/content/lib/thesis/2005/2005bergs.pdf

Friend, M., & Bursuck, W. D. (2009). Including students with special needs: A practical guide for classroom teachers. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc..

Nelson, J. (Director) (2001). I am Sam [DVD]