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Reaching Special Education Ideals

The general consensus is that implementing full inclusion is not easy, requiring the collaboration and intense commitment of special education teachers and their general education counterparts. Other requirements include cross-training between the two groups, as well as for both groups to exhibit flexibility and open-mindedness. The observation is that there are organizational barriers and deep distrust between the two groups of educators that resulted from the two groups working in isolation for a long period time prior to the onset of inclusion, and which need to be overcome for full inclusion to become a reality.

Observations include that general education teachers believe that they are incapable of dealing with children with disabilities from their background and training, and that such teachers are generally intimidated by children with disabilities. Special education teachers, on the other hand, feel that they are second class citizens or country cousins to general educators by virtue of their having relatively ‘inferior’ curricula and standards compared to the mainstream.

Be that as it may, the future lies in those who have experienced teaching in inclusion classes and have come to enjoy the satisfaction and reward inherent in such work. On another concern, that of the cost of inclusion and the cost of educating inclusion classes, the expert observation is that inclusive schooling, when well executed, may not cost more than classrooms that are self-contained. Cost savings accrue in facilities and transportation costs in inclusive settings, even as resources are shifted from special education to general education classes.

Professional development costs for regular classroom teachers who need to be trained in the handling of children with disabilities are said to be no different from costs incurred for other development programs. With regard to paraprofessional costs, the observation is that such costs are dependent on the child and not on the classroom, meaning that such costs would have been incurred whether a disabled child remained in a special education program or is moved to an inclusive classroom (Norton 2006). .

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