Integration within the primary school is a big concern for many people in our society, children and adults, but I do not see the issue with it. In my opinion, I feel that children from the age of 5-12 need to be able to see the world for what it is. They need to realise and understand that there are children, just like themselves, that face extreme struggles every single day. These by mental difficulties or physical disabilities some of which are long term. However, that does not necessarily mean that problems will not occur with this. Sometimes we can notice that other children look at the Additional Support Needs children differently simply because of their disability. This is why I feel that inclusion of special needs should happen very early on in the children’s school experience, as by the later years of their education they will be looked at as no different from anyone else.
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On my MA1 placement and my previous experiences in the primary school, it is clear to see that with inclusion of ASN children they are still looked at by their peers as “different” but we can not make this any worse by not including these children in “normal”activities which could make them stand out more. Yes we will come across certain activities that these children will not be able to do but there will still be some way in which they could take part. For example, a disabled child that is in a wheelchair will not be able to take part in a class game of rounders on either the batting or fielding team. However, this child can still be made to feel important by giving the child the role of time keeper or score taker, therefore working on other skills which are just as important in a team sport. This way they will not be made to feel discouraged as they are still a valued member of the class game.
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“Special” schools are looked at as a good thing, for better use of money/ shared resources, but i do not necessarily see them as beneficial to all children either. Although the pros of this could be one to one support? …but would children really achieve the one to one support they need in a school of this kind, where all children have a need for extra help?
However, putting my views aside, research shows that sometimes the inclusion of pupils with additional support needs can have non-inclusive outcomes. (Dyson and Millward, 2001) When Inclusion fails it can be down to the lack of training for teachers on how to handle and prepare for children, of all abilities, inside the classroom, as well as limited funding for resources. (SEDL,1995) This is where the need for specialist teachers come in. Again on my placement the class teacher was appointed an ASNA who was in the class to aid the ASN children. All children bonded with her, even more so the ASN children. She was a huge asset to the class and the class teacher, although I realise that due to staff shortages this will not be the case in all schools.
Although I realise that cost, training would be factors for inclusion to not take place everywhere. I think inclusion of these children pose many benefits to other children and teachers. We can learn a lot from their strengths and teach to their weaknesses.
Me, I would hope that if my child was born with special needs they would not be made to feel singled out, discouraged, disheartened or looked at as different in anyway. My child would be loved for who he or she was, their strengths, weaknesses and personality just like any other child in their school or community.
Dyson, A. and Millward, A. (2001) Schools and Special Needs: Issues of Innovation and Inclusion. 1st edn. United Kingdom: Paul Chapman Educational Publishing.
SEDL (1995) Concerns About and Arguments Against Inclusion and/or Full Inclusion – Issues …about Change, Inclusion: The Pros and Cons, Volume 4, Number 3. Available at: http://www.sedl.org/change/issues/issues43/concerns.html (Accessed: 7 October 2015).