THE INCLUSION DEBATE
Fellow Community Members,
I am writing to you in a bid to address the issue of inclusion in general, with the aim of persuading you as the community members to view inclusion from a positive perspective. The Editor of our local newspaper has brought to my attention the fact that some parents as well as other members of the community have written many letters to him over the last six months. These letters have posited genuine concerns over the cost of accommodating children with disabilities in the local school. These concerns have resulted to some community members seeing no benefit to these children or their typically developing peers.
Fellow members of the community, all human beings were created by God in his own image. Instead of having a negative attitude towards inclusion of children with special needs in the ordinary school system, it is our duty to be the contributors of real solutions to this issue. It is my sincere request to you not to support this outrageous issue.
Just to bring to your attention the some insights regarding inclusion, since time immemorial, there has been a lot of apprehension and worry regarding the issue of inclusion associated with individual feelings towards physically and emotionally challenged people, especially children in schools. Many people have viewed these individuals as being lesser human beings. Though this attitude within the community has been changing, some parents especially those with normal children have failed to modify and transform their approach regarding disability with contemporary philosophies as well as new guidelines (MacConville, 2007).
To understand the issues concerning inclusion, it is important to start our discussion by defining inclusion. Inclusion in early childhood represents the principles, plans of action, as well as applications aimed at sustaining the human and constitutional privileges of practically all toddlers and juveniles and their relatives. Sustainace is achieved in spite of capability or talent of the juvenile’s to contribute or take part in varieties of actions and situations like a constituent of a family unit or the social order (Pfeiffer & Reddy, 1999). Green (2000) elucidates inclusion as important for both physically or emotionally challenged and normal child’s life as it enables a child to fit in, develop constructive collective associations and companionships, and also ensures growth and maturity. The most significant characteristics of inclusion that are employed in the classification of plans for infants include admission, involvement, and maintenance or sustainace. It is important to posit the fact that inclusion concerns heartening conventional and institutions dealing with children with special needs to function jointly and sustain themselves and meet the needs of physically of emotionally challenged children.
Some parents have raised concern on the rising cost of accommodation for children with special needs in the local school. One of the issues of concern by members of the community is that children with special needs should be in school with children with similar challenges. According to Florian (2006), the Salama Statement of the UNESCO World Conference on Special Needs Education of 1994, each and every infant has a human and constitutional privilege to edification. Regardless of their abilities, children should be offered with a chance to attain and accomplish adequate schooling. Studies done in the recent past have shown that normal or ordinary learning institutions with an all-encompassing attitude area significant way of fighting biased or prejudiced mind-sets, building friendly and all-involving neighborhood, and also realize schooling for each and every child (Zionts, 2005). These institutions also present a useful and effectual learning opportunity of normal children and enhance the competence and subsequently success in sustainace of total expenditure within the whole learning structure.
Inclusive learning makes it possible for normal children as well as those with special needs be involved wholly in conventional initial stages prerequisites, and learning institutions including those of higher learning. The availability of inclusive learning ensures that the available learning resources are geared towards promotion and development of the learners’ impartiality and involvement within all facets of education (Alliance for Inclusive Education, 2000). School going children with special needs should be allowed to attend learning institution that they would otherwise attend if they were like normal children.
Human and civil rights for the disabled
We need to consider various rights of these children. Human rights are the privileges indebted to each and every human being. One important point we should note is that these are always present regardless of its articulation in the constitution. As mentioned earlier in this letter, individuals with disabilities are considered lesser human beings. Civil rights regarding children are ought to be obeyed (U.S Congress, 2007). It is significant for us to consider the efforts that took place to develop and implement the privileges of people living with disabilities. According to the Division of the Partial Agreement in the Social and Public Health Field (2005), there was a worldwide pronouncement on human privileges that was meant to make certain or guarantee the civil liberties of each and every child to obligatory schooling at no cost in the year 1948. This was followed by a global agreement in 1966 regarding financial, collective, and educational right to support free schooling for children. A United Nations conference in 1989 came up with an understanding that would ensure and maintain the liberty for children to get education devoid of bias and favoritism (Jaeger & Bowman, 2005).
According to Capel and Piotrowski (2000, pg 52), “The UN Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities Rule 6 of 1993 affirms the equal rights of all children, youths and adults with disabilities to education, and it should be provided in an integrated school setting and in the general school setting.” Other conventions include the World Education Forum Framework for Action of 2000, 2000 E-9 Declaration, and the UN Disability Convention of 2006, among others we will not mention here. All these were geared towards improving the liberties of individuals with special needs (Engel & Munger, 2003).
My dear brothers and sisters, our societal ethical considerations require us to do away with conventional opinions and adapt medical philosophies. The conventional kind of philosophy encourages segregation of individuals with special needs in learning. Medical philosophy encourages incorporation and assimilation of children with special needs but in disconnect. Medical philosophy also encourages assimilation of challenged children in collective actions especially in the playing ground, as well as in the classroom (Heymann & Cassola, 2012).
Benefits of inclusion
Fellow members of the community, the benefits of inclusion to children outweigh problems associated with cost such as accommodation. Studies done in the past have tried to elucidate the benefits of inclusion and incorporation of school going children with special needs in the mainstream (O’Donovan, 2002). Parties that benefit from inclusion include children special needs, those without special needs, relatives of physically or emotionally challenged children, relatives of normal children, and the society in general. Inclusion secures children with special needs from negative results associated with isolation within the learning system, and also secures them from unhelpful and off-putting consequences of name tagging and neglect from normal children. Inclusion avails proficient representations to challenged children that enable them to gain knowledge and acclimatize new abilities (Hodkinson & Vickerman, 2009). They are also able to gain knowledge on how to utilize their already available talents. Inclusion presents challenged children with a platform and a chance in which they can socialize with their age mates regardless of physical or emotional nature hence they adapt collective talkative abilities. It also avails them with a practical practice and understanding of the interactions that happens within the society. Through inclusion in the mainstream, challenged children are able to build up and extend acquaintance and alliances with the age mates (Rieser, 2008).
Mainstream inclusion of challenged children enables normal children to gain insights on the practicalities of their challenged age mates. Through socializing with the physically and emotionally challenged individuals, children are able to grow an optimistic mind-set in regard to the disabled, as well as learn and adapt unselfish and humane attitudes and ways to utilize them (Kemple, 2004). Through inclusion of challenged children in the mainstream, those without disabilities are offered with a representation of persons who attain or accomplish their goals in life irrespective of their shortcomings. The society can on the other hand safeguard or save their infants’ resources through preventing the call for isolation of challenged children through saving the costs of offering separate curriculums. The community can save on expenditure in learning if challenged children are absorbed in the ordinary learning systems in contrast with offering unique and exceptional learning programs (Jacobs, 2008).
To relatives of children with challenges, inclusion enables them to gain knowledge of emblematic growth and development. They are also able to feel as equal members of the society when their children are included in the ordinary education system, and are able to build up constructive associations with relatives of normally growing children hence gain significant support. Relatives of normally growing children are able to offer training and coaching on life challenges (Rouse, 2009).
Challenges of Inclusion
Can you visualize one day your wife giving birth to a physically or emotionally challenged child? Would you like him/her to be treated in seclusion? Anyone would be out of his or her mind to support seclusion of children with special needs. However, Inclusion of challenged children in the ordinary system in the schooling system has its own challenges but these must not sway your ethical considerations of this matter. It is important to consider the cost of training teachers. Inclusion of students with special needs will require training of teachers to be sufficiently and effectively equipped to deal with challenged children. According to Heymann and Cassola (2012),
Allen Cowdery (2010) argues that providing schools with the tools required enabling disabled children to access a quality education is one of the biggest challenges the development community faces. It also presents an important opportunity, however, as improving accessibility actually reduces the cost of inclusion overall and provides many benefits to all children. Inflated estimates of the cost of accessibility typically reflect a lack of knowledge and experience. The expense of making school buildings accessible to children with disabilities is generally less than one percent of total construction costs; however, the cost of retrofitting existing buildings is far greater (Kochhar & Chandrashekhar, 2009).
In conclusion, it is important to restate that Inclusion in early days of kids symbolizes the ideology, approaches, as well as claims aimed at sustaining the human and civil privileges of practically all children and their relatives. Maintenance of this phenomenon is accomplished in spite of capability or talent of the juvenile’s to contribute or take part in varieties of actions and situations like a constituent of a family unit or the social order. Inclusion is vital for both bodily and psychologically challenged and typically developing child’s life as it allows them to fit in, develops constructive collective associations and companionships, and also ensures growth and maturity. The most important characteristics of inclusion that are employed in the classification of plans for infants include admission, involvement, and maintenance or sustainace (Power-deFur & Orelove, 1997).
As part of conclusion, I would also want to remind you the benefits of inclusion and incorporation of school going children with special needs in the ordinary school system. Individuals that benefit from inclusion include children special needs, those without special needs, relatives of physically or emotionally challenged children, relatives of normal children, and the society in general. Inclusion secures children with special needs from negative results associated with isolation within the learning system, and also secures them from unhelpful and off-putting consequences of name tagging and neglect from normal children. Inclusion avails proficient representations to challenged children that enable them to gain knowledge and acclimatize new abilities. Good inhabitants of this community, we must all be accountable and answerable for the ways we consider the plights of the disabled in our society as God will judge us according to our individual deeds in this world. We must not let our disabled brothers and sisters be mistreated in any manner (Hodkinson & Vickerman, 2009).
Allen, E. K., & Cowdery, E. G. (2010). The Exceptional Child: Inclusion in Early Childhood Education. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
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Engel, D. M., & Munger, F. W. (2003). Rights if Inclusion: Law and Identity in the Life Stories of Americans with Disabilities. Chicago, USA: University of Chicago Press.
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MacConville, R. (2007). Listening to the Voices of Young People. London, UK: Sage Publication.
O’Donovan, M. (2002). Good Practice in Caring for Young Children with Special Needs. Cheltenham, UK: Nelson Thomes Ltd.
Pfeiffer, S. I., & Reddy, L. A. (1999). Inclusion practices with special needs students: Theory, Research, and Application. England, UK: Haworth Press.
Power-deFur, L. A., & Orelove, F. P. (1997). Inclusive Education: Practical Implementation of the Least Restrictive Environment. USA: Aspen Publishers.
Rieser, R. (2008). Implementing Inclusive Education: A Commonwealth Guide to Implementing Article 24 o f the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. London, UK: Commonwealth Secretariat.
Rouse, P. (2009). Inclusion in Physical Education: Fitness, Motor, and Social. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics.
U.S Congress. (2007). Congressional Record. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.
Zionts, P. (2005). Inclusion strategies for students with learning and behavior Problems. Boston, USA: Pro-Ed Publishers.
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