Students With Visual Impairment the Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Serving students with a full range of abilities and disabilities in the general education class room with appropriate in-class support is how Roach (1995) defines inclusion using this practice. Friend & Bursuck (1996) noted that children with disabilities are considered as full members of the classroom learning community in such setting with their special needs met there. Students with disabilities are helped to establish and maintain social networks and opportunities to be accepted by no disabled peers (Farmer & Farmer, 1996; Kennedy & Itkonen, 1994). Students with severe disabilities developed social networks, positive interpersonal relationships, and friendships with students without disabilities (Hendrickson, Shokoohi-Yekta, Hamre-Nietupski, & Gable, 1996).

Surprisingly, according to authors Cloninger & Giangreco (1995), Harig & Romer (1995), students who are deaf blind or have other severe or multiple disabilities are being educated in general education classes has increased. Sharp, York and Knight (1994) added that the inclusion of students with disabilities is not associated with a decline in the academic or behavioral performance of students without disabilities on standardized tests or report cards.

In the Minneapolis, Minnesota, children with visual impairments have been served in regular schools since the early 1900s (Deno, 1978). According to Bertess (1976) the basic requisites for inclusion were (a) education for every child under as near normal circumstances as possible, (b) to keep educational opportunities open to all children, and - to make parents partners in the education of their children which is called principle of "progressive inclusion. Educational Programs for children with special needs under the same principle were offered in Tacoma, Washington.

Schroeder (1996) noted that educators whether teachers and school administrators have a moral responsibility to consider the effects of their education practices on blind children's perceptions of themselves as whole blind persons or as defective sighted persons. "Positive attitudes and cooperation among staff and trained professionals facilitate inclusion success" and that additional services training, extra time for collaboration (York & Tudidor, 1995). Brady, Swank, Taylor, and Freiberg (1992) corroborated that the attitudes of middle school instructors could influence the effectiveness of learning by students with mild disabilities who were included in general education programs. In addition, instructors who had volunteered for training exhibited different patterns of interaction with students from those exhibited by teachers who had not volunteered for training.

In a survey conducted by Tracy Evans Luiselli (1998), she stated:

The majority of the parents had strong opinions about educating their children in inclusive settings and had positive attitudes toward the concept of inclusion. Parents interviewed by phone reported that their children benefited from inclusion in numerous ways, particularly in regard to increases in social, academic, and developmental skills, availability of appropriate role models for behavior, and friendships with peers."

She quoted Ryndak et al., (1995) "These benefits are similar to those reported in an interview study with parents of children with moderate to severe disabilities in inclusive educational settings because parents and their children are most affected by the outcomes of the inclusion process, it is important to include parents, and children when possible, in studies investigating the "benefits" of inclusion.

Disabled alongside not disabled (disadvantage) hostile world, a world where it is not acceptable to be blind, where using alternative methods is not encouraged, and where social isolation is common. As he describes his early experiences, it seems almost as if he, a person with significant low vision, were forced to "fit" into an educational system that was not designed for people like him. As a result, he felt for a long time like an alien in this world (Kuusisto, 1999)."

On the contrary to inclusion advocates' calls for fully inclusive classrooms, critics argue that many students with disabilities are best served in non-inclusive settings, noting that many students with disabilities or students who were gifted were originally pulled from the regular education classroom because they were not well served there (Kauffman, 1995): Teaching as if "one size fits all" disregards the individual needs of special education students. Moreover, when the demands of servicing students with disabilities, some severe, are added to the regular education classroom, the needs of low, average, and above-average students are often ignored (Delisle, 1994). Enhanced academic achievement and self-concept of students with disabilities, regardless of placement, are unsubstantiated through prolonged research (O'Neil, 1994). This lack of systematic and comprehensive empirical evidence supporting inclusion practices could negatively affect regular and special education students, as well as their teachers (Lewis, Chard, & Scott, 1994; King, 1997).

We are likely to find that inclusion in general education provides physical access but not instructional access for most students to the supposedly rich and varied general education curriculum offered in general education classrooms. But physical access to a place can restrict access to the instructional procedures that are most effective for students with learning problems (Kauffman, 1999)."

Even if expertise were available, extensive use of specialists in ways that were traditionally employed when students with disabilities were educated in separate special education classes and schools may not work well in general education classrooms because of significant contextual differences" (Giangreco, Dennis, Cloninger, Edelman, & Schattman, 1993). Some serious medical attention may be needed yet such may not be included in the school program. The demand for teachers catering those children with special needs will increase. One essential determinant considered in the success of inclusive service is the quality of the early childhood program (Giangreco, Dennis, Cloninger, Edelman, & Schattman, 1993). According to Buysse, Wesley, & Keyes (1998) and Doherty-Derkowski, (1995) general factors of program quality, such as unfavorable class size, poor teacher-child ratios, low licensing requirements, and stability of staff, have been cited as barriers to inclusion.

Opponents of inclusion assert that many local school boards, state departments of education, and legislators favor inclusion simply to reduce the costs of special education programs (Shanker, 1994). Furthermore, skeptics of inclusion charge that, in an effort to make the inclusion classroom appropriate for all students, the more able children may experience boredom and special needs children may experience frustration when trying to keep up with the average instructional pace. Consequently, achievement test scores of all students in inclusion classrooms could decline, and inclusion teachers would likely be held accountable (Brackett, 1994; King, 1997).

Behrmann (1992) has commented that schools need more special education personnel, not fewer, when students with disabilities are served in general education. There is not a lot of school in the world that can provide the elements of inclusion which Eleanor Guetzloe (1999) stated, "the most important elements of inclusion are attending the home school - the same school that neighbors, siblings, or non-disabled peers attend - and being placed in regular education classes (and included on the class rolls) with classmates of the same chronological age. At the same time, inclusion means having an individualized education program (IEP) as required by federal law and the supports (special education and related services) necessary for success in that environment."

Separate goals and a different agenda between the classroom teacher and the specialist, disruption of class schedule and routines of the specialist, overly technical and stigmatizing to students are the common difficulties of general education teacher who had a child with disability in the classroom (Giagreco et. al., 1993). In an interview done by Elaine Frankel (2004), some educators "described a lack of consistency across curricula in terms of offering courses in special needs, training institutions were not yet changing the way they were dealing with inclusion because for them it is not only a separate course but it is the language you use and the attitudes you demonstrate in all courses.

Disabled along side disabled (Advantage)

Little is known about what students perceive as the reasons for or the benefits of their educational placements at special schools; although one study has explored the perceptions of parents pertaining to their children's educational placement at special schools. These parents view special school as a place that has all the facilities helpful to the child with special need (Corn, Bina, & DePriest, 1995).

Attending a school that did not cater exclusively to students with visual impairments would not afford them with the same level of academic support that they were currently receiving. They perceived that in local schools they would experience larger-sized classes, less attention from teachers, and fewer opportunities to function independently. Students also felt that their local schools were not equipped with the trained personnel or resources, including the books, materials, and technology that existed in their special school. Educational setting for special children is better equipped than the normal setting. The students are given professional and trained personnel to teach and attend specifically to their need as compared to what their local school can offer. They have comfort being around other visually impaired students (Corn, 2003).

Disabled along side disabled (Disadvantage)

The common theme in special school is students centered on the nonacademic aspects…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). (2005). Educating Students With Visual Impairments for Inclusion in Society. Retrieved March 08, 2007

Behrmann, J. (1993). Including everyone. The Executive Educator, 15(12), 16-20.

Bennett, T., Bruns, D. And Deluca, D. (1997). Putting Inclusion into Practice: Perspectives of Teachers and Parents. Exceptional Children, 64.

Bertness, H.J. (1976). Progressive inclusion: The mainstream movement in Tacoma. In M.C. Reynolds (Ed.), Mainstreaming: Origins and implications (pp. 55-58). Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.

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