Efforts to integrate children with disabilities with normal children in the general education system are a global concern. According to Rogers and Johnson (2018), inclusive classroom learning is the only way to successfully integrate children with disabilities and regular children, particularly in preschool, to create good foundations. Inclusivity means allowing children with disabilities to learn in the same classrooms as regular children (Kaishian, 2020). Most schools with special needs education have separate classrooms for children with incapacities. However, agendas concerning equity dictate the mixing of normal students and students with special needs in the same classroom to promote equity and fair distribution of privileges among children. This essay uses a case study approach to investigate factors that promote the successful integration of inclusive classrooms and equal rights among preschool children.
Throughout history, students with disabilities have always had separate learning institutions from other children. The segregation was stringent that children with slight physical or cognitive incapacities could not attend regular public schools like their peers. However, parents’ pleas and human rights movements raised equality issues, leading to the inclusion of children with incapacities in the education sector. A move by the World Conference regarding children with special needs suggests that all countries adopt inclusive strategies in school to accommodate special needs children and enhance equality in education (Rogers & Johnson, 2018). The Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is also at the forefront of advocating for integrating children with disabilities into regular classrooms (Kaishian, 2020). The ACT urges public schools to practice inclusivity where the federal government pays extra expenses for special children.
Human beings like to belong and have recognition as being part of a particular community. Likewise, children with disabilities feel the need for inclusion in regular classroom activities as their peers. With the growing concern on equality and classroom inclusivity, schools are adopting ways of integrating inclusive classrooms for children with disabilities to join regular classrooms (Kaishian, 2020). Despite the inclusion, some parents feel that their children with disabilities do not get the same attention and privileges as their able peers (Brown, 2017). Parents demand that school authorities and teachers strive more to establish a conducive and equitable environment for their children to promote the successful integration of inclusive programs. This study investigates policies and programs that schools and instructors have implemented to enhance inclusive programs and the challenges of inclusive classrooms.
Investigations were made through a qualitative design approach. Qualitative research is efficient in providing an in-depth understanding of situations through incorporating actual experiences. Data collection methods comprised of interviews, observation, and interactive discussions. The study was undertaken in 3 public schools, picked through a purposive sampling method where each school has two inclusive classrooms in preschool. Participants included three teachers and two faculty members from each school, totaling 15 participants. Schools were picked through purposive sampling since schools with inclusive classrooms are few. Observations included making general remarks regarding school facilities and equipment that support children with disabilities. Interviews were held for 1 hour per session where all nine teachers and two faculty members responded to open-ended questions regarding the inclusive classrooms. Interactive discussions included questions regarding teachers’ experiences and challenges in teaching an inclusive classroom set-up. All interviews and discussions were recorded in audio format for transcription and analysis. Data analysis was carried out by compiling and comparing the transcribed recordings and field notes and clustering the most recurring responses to obtain the most common responses.
Observation results indicate that each classroom in the three schools had the equipment to support children with disabilities and enhance equality during classroom activities. The equipment includes modified sitting gears such as positional chairs with fastenings for physically impaired children, special writing apparatus such as thick pencils for firm gripping, augmentative speech devices, and walking aid equipment. The schools also provide adaptive facilities in restrooms and eating areas such as toilet seats and extensions of stairs with slide rails for easier movement. Among the three schools, only one school had physical activity equipment designed for children with incapacities.
During the interviews, faculty members from the schools lacking the equipment responded that the devices are too expensive for their financial plan and require external funding. Teachers’ primary concern in inclusive classrooms is the attitude of regular students and their parents towards children with disabilities. Being children, most of them feel uncomfortable around peers with physical deformities, and parents’ attitudes contribute to the discomfort where they regard children with disabilities as different. Apart from normal children’s attitudes, children with disabilities are also aware of their incapacities and differences with peers, posing a challenge during interactions.
Faculty members argue that the insufficient integration of children with disabilities in regular classes is due to limited funds for providing equipment that enhances equal participation with other children. The faculty also alleges that negative attitudes from parents with typical children are a significant challenge. Teachers state that teaching without the necessary aids for children with disabilities is also challenging. Generally, the schools need support from parents and institutional funding to have a successful integration.
Factors contributing to the successful integration of inclusive classrooms include parents’ and children’s attitudes, affordability of equipment to aid children with disabilities, and sufficient classroom capacities to contain the equipment. Parents with regular children have negative attitudes toward classroom inclusion which affects integration. Normal children’s discomfort around children with disabilities also affects fruitful integration, while disability self-consciousness among children with incapacities creates intimidating attitudes. Schools with inclusive classrooms require extra funding to purchase adequate gear and create enough space to accommodate the equipment.
Brown, B. (2017). Inclusive or special classrooms: Factors influencing parents’ choice of placement (Order No. 10641094). Available from Publicly Available Content Database. (1973619538). Web.
Kaishian, R. M. (2020). Educational policy, inclusive classrooms, and the pursuit of equity (Order No. 27834016). Available from Publicly Available Content Database. (2404318874). Web.
Rogers, W., & Johnson, N. (2018). Strategies to include students with Severe/Multiple disabilities within the general education classroom. Physical Disabilities, 37(2), 1-12. Web.