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Abstract: A Students Amanda EDU Laurel March INCLUSION The Study 724 primary 11th Brightman-Uhl Ellis of in OF Inclusion

2012 General intent SPECIAL of Education of EDUCATION this Special program STUDENTS Education evaluation was to determine the degree 2 of 1 inc lusion of students with disabilities in general education classes in four elemen tary and four secondary schools; the similarities and differences in how special education services were offered; and the ways in which students with disabiliti es were supported in the least restrictive environment. Staff perceptions of spe cial education services were examined by conducting personal interviews with a l arge majority of the classroom teachers, special education teachers, instruction al assistants, and principals in each school. The findings include descriptions of how far along each school was with inclusion, the amount of time students spe nt in general education, the roles of the special education teachers, the rates of student referrals for special education consideration, the attitudes of all s taff toward inclusion and toward collaboration, and the skills of the teachers r elated to the inclusion of special education students. The findings also include descriptions of the impact of inclusion on other students, the performance of a ll students on a statewide test, and the qualitative responses of educators towa rd inclusion. Overall, educators were positive about educating students with dis abilities in general education settings. They were conservative about how to bes t do this, with many of them preferring to have the included students accompanie d by a special education teacher or instructional assistant or continuing to hav e resource room services. Nearly everyone favored using instructional assistants to help all students, not just the students with disabilities. Most educators r eported feeling positive about working collaboratively and felt they had adminis trative When INCLUSION support OF I SPECIAL first to offer become EDUCATION inclusive interested STUDENTS education in theprograms. field of special education3I alway s wondered why different schools had different philosophies on inclusion and whi ch ones worked the best? As I gained more experience and insight I realized it i s based on a number of different factors. Resources always seemed like the bigge st reason against or obstacle if you will for inclusion. In my mind I would pict ure a school with unlimited resources and think about what special education and inclusion would then look like. As I started taking graduate classes in inclusi on studies I realized you dont need unlimited resources to successfully include a ll students. I was very interested to read Lorna Idols (2006) article on inclusio n of special education students in general education because of my own philosoph ies on special education. Idol decided to research four elementary and four seco ndary schools to see how much, if any inclusion special education students were getting. It was also done to find out how each school was interpreting the least restrictive environment for their students in relation to inclusion. I found th is the most interesting because my own school has been taking the first small st eps towards After inclusion reading chapters in recentone years. and two in Marilyn Friends Co-Teach! (2008) I wanted to learn more about co-teaching and how it works for different types of s chools. Idols (2006) research article seemed like a great follow up. Idol (2006) states that essentially, inclusion means that the student with special education needs is attending the general school program, enrolled in age appropriate clas ses 100% of the school day. Some schools think they are using the full inclusion m odel by mainstreaming their students for most of their school day. Idol (2006) r eminds us that mainstreaming and INCLUSION OF SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS 4 inclusion are in fact two different concepts. In full inclusion s tudents with disabilities are supported in their classroom all day with no pull out, when a student is pulled out for special services they are not fully includ ed. Idol (2006) includes the four most popular related forms of special educatio n service delivery with brief explanations of each. The consulting teacher model , which is when the special education teacher and classroom teacher plan togethe r, the special education teacher never directly teaches the student. The coopera tive teacher model, special education and classroom teachers work together direc tly using co teaching arrangements that work with all students. Next, supportive resource programs is where students get to an alternative location other then t he classroom to receives small group or individual instruction in an area of ext ra need. Lastly, instructional assistants are aids that stay with the special ed ucation The students rational to support for this them study throughout is to describe the daywhat in the happens classroom. as schools move towards inclusive educational practices. I found this study to be very detailed taking many things into consideration like the types of disabilities, amount of

time students spent in the general education classroom, the referral process at each school, attitudes of staff towards inclusion practices, attitudes of admini stration toward staff and staff towards administration and the overall ability o f the school to accommodate for students with special needs among many other con siderations. Administration, teachers and instructional assistants were intervie wed at length for this study to get a true measure of the targeted research area s. Overall most educators agreed that more professional development opportunitie s are needed related to inclusion. Their attitudes towards INCLUSION OF SPECIAL EDUCATION were inclusion STUDENTS generally positive and administrators5were doing a good job of su pporting their teachers in areas of need. The recommendations that came out of t he study helped me to apply the knowledge I have about my school, I can see what areas we need to improve in when it comes to inclusion. The educators in this s tudy for the most part want to feel supported in their efforts, they want to kno w they are doing the right thing for their students. I get the feeling that over all everyone thinks inclusion is a good idea and a step in the right direction b ut they need help with those first steps. Once a school moves closer and closer to inclusion it becomes very fluid and almost runs on its own with everyone havi ng their specific duties. The goal of any educator is and should be to provide s tudents with the least restrictive learning environment, with the shift towards inclusion Friend, References M.this (2008). willCo-teach! be made easier A handbook for all. for creating and sustaining successful c lassroom Idol, Lorna. partnerships Toward Inclusion in inclusive of Special schools. Education Greensboro, Student NC: in MFI. General Education: A Program Evaluation of Eight Schools. Remedial and Special Education (March/Apr il 2006). Volume 27, Number 2: 77 79