Have We Jumped the Gun? Inclusion of Students with Severe Disabilities in the General Education Classroom

With an increasing push for the inclusion of students with severe disabilities in general education classrooms suprisingly, a number of educators (both general and special ed.) feel underprepared to educate students with disabilities in  inclusive environments.

                       How Can This Be?

For starters, many university teacher education programs do not require or offer coursework related to inclusive practices. Specific training is needed if teachers are expected to reach the wide range of  learners in their classrooms. Certification requirements are different for special educators than general educators which is understandable, but with the line between general and special education becoming increasingly blurred, some of the coursework needs to overlap. Special educators could benefit from coursework related  to content and curriculum development, where general educators could be benefit from courses related to  adapting content and assistive technology. If educators are expected to provide inclusive programming for students with disabilities, this shift should be evidenced in University  Teacher Education Programs.  There also needs to be effective, accessible, ongoing professional development implemented that is related to inclusive strategies that fosters collaboration among educators.  How can educators be expected to meet this challenge when resources and training are not in place?  Implementing effective inclusionary practices requires a shift in thinking and the collaboration of all parties involved.  It’s not something that can happen overnight.  There a few states that have successfully implemented inclusive programs.  Check out the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability: National Center on Inclusive Education.

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2 thoughts on “Have We Jumped the Gun? Inclusion of Students with Severe Disabilities in the General Education Classroom

  1. That is interesting that you discussed special education teachers getting trained in content and vice versa. I too seem to have the same concerns as you. Often I am very hesitant upon letting my special education teacher take on the lead teacher position because she is not confident in the content. I however, am very uncertain in the special education aspects to a classroom. I agree that there needs to be training for an inclusion setting. Great ideas presented.

  2. I majored in elementary education and had only one inclusion class in my undergrad program. It was shameful. When I entered public education, I was shocked at how new everything was and the daily happenings that occured dealing with special education. You are so right when you said professional development needs to happen.

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