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Educating Students with Learning Disabilities in Inclusive Classrooms, Electronic

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Ford, J. (2013). Educating Students with Learning disabilities in Inclusive Classrooms, Electronic

Journal for Inclusive Education, 3 (1).

        Inclusion is a topic that will always be rampant in education. Inclusion is when all students are included in the education process, whether students have disabilities or not.  Barriers are created when students are labeled as having disabilities. Several strategies are put in place to support students with learning disabilities. Some strategies include, but are not limited to co-teaching and differentiated instruction. The author stated that the practice of inclusion and social injustice go hand in hand. However, there are mixed results regarding academic achievement.  The author suggests that educators consider all resources before making any placement decisions. It is not enough to pull student out for instruction, but to create an environment that is conducive for learning. I agree that when schools consider all aspects of their resources, students are at the center of planning, and are receiving the best possible education.

“Inclusion refers to the practice of students with disabilities (SWD) learning alongside their peers in general education classrooms” (Gilhool, 1989).   This suggests that students learn best with their peers, with or without a disability. However, sometimes students have severe disabilities that go beyond the scope of the general education classroom.  There are different groups of supporter, like parents, educators, and advocates that support inclusion.  These interest groups strongly believe that including all students is equal to social injustice.  Therefore, out of respect and care, all students should be given the opportunity to learn in their least restricted environment. Most students with disabilities have individualized education plans (IEP), which a team of professionals used their expertise to formulate a plan that will give the student the best chance at learning. This plan is what’s best for the student. Some students may learn best in the general education classroom, while others may need to be pulled out for r more individualized instruction.        

As with supporters, there are also those that show resistance to inclusive education. “At the heart of this debate are concerns regarding  how much of the school day SWD are included in the general education environment and the degree to which inclusive practices help to achieve desirable student outcomes” (McLeskey, 2007). This group focuses on the outcome of learning in student with learning disabilities. Students with learning disabilities (LD) differ from students who have physical disabilities, which are more visible.  Although, there is a difference in disabilities, academic achievements are affected in both groups.  However, researchers argue that it is easier to reach the needs of students with learning disabilities by implementing co-teaching. Co-teaching is a cooperative approach to learning that involves both the special educators and general educators. This eliminates the need to pull students out for instruction.

Another strategy to support students with learning disabilities is differentiated instruction. Differentiated instruction will always be at the forefront of education. Differentiated instruction is when students are instructed according to their individual needs. “Differentiated instruction involves students with LD, and others with diverse learning needs, being supplied with instructional methods and materials that are matched to their individual needs (Scrugga, Mastropieri, & Marshak, 2012). Educators should look at differentiating instruction as the norm. Students do not have to work on the exact same thing.  For example, students can work on the same project, but they can approach it in a different way. Although differentiated instruction may not be easy to implement, the goal is to provide instruction to students in a way they all can learn and benefit from it.   In inclusive classrooms, disabilities are not the main focus.  The focus is the abilities that students have. Not only are students with disabilities educated with their peers, they also improve their social mannerisms.                                                    

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