“In reality inclusion is creating a nightmare for special education teachers concerned for their students’ welfare and for mainstream teachers who lack training and experience to deal with the handicapped.” P. 144
“Our experience with Andy, and the Yeagers’ experience with Lindsay reinforce my belief that higher-functioning children with Down syndrome will do better if they are placed in special classes for academic subjects (provided the teacher is good) instead of struggling to keep up with their peers in a regular classroom and spending much of their time in a pull-out program with a resource teacher.” P. 145
Wyllie makes her position on inclusion clear in this chapter. Full inclusion, as a matter of civil rights rather than educational practice, is a controversial subject in our community. No matter where you fall on the issue, we can appreciate that Wyllie’s beliefs come from her own personal experience and her own perspective.
Have your personal experiences within the education system influenced your opinion of inclusion? Do you have opinions about different educational methods like the ones discussed in this chapter? (phonics, Dewey, Montessori)
This chapter chronicles the different classes, teachers, and educational methods used with Andy in elementary school. How did you feel about the story overall? Was it similar to your own experiences? What memories did it trigger?
Inclusion can happen even when children are served in self-contained classes. Though my son, moderately ID, was served by Special Education teachers in self-contained classes, he was included in mainstream exploratory classes and was able exercise independence and choice throughout the school day. He ate meals with his typical friends, changed classes on his own, was included in clubs and sports, and seemed to know everyone in his school of 3,000. His Special Ed classes accounted for only half of the day. The rest of his day was spent with the general population. He also had a job within the community. He went on to attend and graduate from a post-secondary program at a large university and has secured two excellent jobs. I think full and partial inclusion are wonderful options, but students can also experience success without it. Another plus was my son had a strong social life. While his typical friends were dating, playing sports, working jobs, driving, etc…..my son enjoyed weekend fun with his classmates and dating a girl in his class. When students are fully included in middle and high school, many of those elementary school friendships become distant due to change of interests and busier schedules. It is good for our children to have a peer group with whom they identify for socializing.