Benefits of Inclusion and Barriers to Inclusion (Report Paper Example)

Inclusion is a highly emotional and controversial topic in education. Administrators, regular educators, and special instructors continue to experience mixed feelings in relation to inclusion. Several studies have been carries out to identify the benefits and barriers to inclusion. However, these studies still leave inclusion difficult to implement. Still, most schools that have practiced inclusion have experienced more benefits than drawbacks. The recent legal decisions affecting inclusion include the law permitting this phenomenon, yet the main stakeholders – teachers and parents – do not think that it is beneficial to both disabled and non-disabled children. Legally, it is not clear to what extent inclusion should be practiced. Most formulated policies do not show provide decent support for inclusion in many parts of the world. Research indicates that inclusion has transformed the life of many disabled learners. Therefore, this report will summarize the literature review necessary to identify the benefits and barriers to inclusion.

Benefits of Inclusion

The inclusion of children with disabilities into regular classroom learning remains a slow but mighty movement. Children incorporated into the high-quality classrooms with their peers gain benefits in all developmental domains (Henninger & Gupta, 2014). Research shows that disabled children included in the general learning classrooms have more chances of exhibiting both social and emotional behaviors than their peers in the special educational setting (Henninger & Gupta, 2014). These children tend to imitate the behaviors of their non-disabled peers thus improving their own conduct.

Inclusive classrooms offer an opportunity for the disabled children to engage in daily routine and activities that trigger and challenge them to perform academically as well as their peers. These benefits also extend to the other normal children. These students learn a lot from their disabled counterparts (Henninger & Gupta, 2014). Henninger & Gupta (2014) have conducted an extensive literature review on the advantages of behavioral improvement, both social and emotional. However, they failed to research other benefits of inclusion more, such as the lager number of teachers, a variety of teaching approaches, and the access to more learning resources (Henninger & Gupta, 2014). The majority of the above-discussed perks of inclusion have a positive impact on the practices of learning in foster care as well.

Several benefits accrue when full inclusion program is incorporated into the general educational setting. First, disabled children develop effective relationships with their non-disabled counterparts. Hence, the children with special needs acquire role models for the development of right behaviors (Fisher, Roach, & Frey, 2002). On the other hand, the rest of the students learn from understanding people with disabilities (Fisher et al., 2002). The disabled pupils benefit from the academic standards set by other students, which in turn improves their performance.

General students understand that disabled people are of significance to the community. Schools also benefit from the money set aside for special schools, which is actively used to fund inclusive schools. Fisher et al. (2002) failed to conduct a comprehensive literature review in relation to the advantages of inclusion. They just presented just a few benefits mostly related to the behavioral changes and academic excellence of the disabled children (Fisher et al., 2002). Moreover, little is done concerning the benefits of inclusion for the schools and teachers. However, Fisher et al. (2002) outlined the gains of inclusion that could improve the learning of foster children.

Inclusive classrooms offer disabled learners the support they require as they learn alongside the regular learners. One of the foremost benefits of inclusion is the availability of more teachers, which means better quality of assistance for the learners. The other perk is supportive strategies. Both teachers and students assist each other in the process of teaching. Another benefit is the use of a variety of teaching approaches (Rosen, 2016). Inclusive classrooms are capable of accommodating a wide range of learning needs and styles. One more advantage is better access to learning specialists. The children can consult various experts, such as reading and other service specialists.

The last benefit of inclusion is the increase of learning resources, such as funds meant for special education, which are used to facilitate inclusive education. Unfortunately, Rosen (2016) failed to discuss the perks of inclusion in the necessary detail. There are many advantages of inclusion for the teachers, learners and the classrooms in general. However, the few benefits discussed by Rosen (2016) are real and practical, and, if applied in an inclusive classroom, they can transform education and benefit disabled children as well as those in foster care.

The journey of achieving inclusion is long and difficult, but it brings many positive outcomes to all learners. The first benefit of inclusion discussed by the Inclusive School Network (2015) is the academic supports that allows each learner to access the full curriculum. Instructors ensure all learners meet the required objectives and standards as set in the curriculum. One more advantage is the increase in the learners’ engagement brought about by differentiated instructions. The students, especially the disabled ones, also benefit from the behavioral support. The disabled learners can improve their social and emotional conduct by emulating others.

Another benefit mentioned by the Inclusive School Network (2015) is the appreciation of diversity. The disabled children feel that they are accepted by their peers, and this feeling increases their confidence and facilitates learning (Inclusive School Network, 2015). Inclusion provides more learning resources as well. The funds that have been previously meant for supporting special education are used to enhance inclusive learning (Inclusive School Network, 2015). This article is written in an extremely clear way. However, the Inclusive School Network (2015) has failed to mention the benefits enjoyed by the general learners, such as the creation of meaningful friendships and greater academic outcomes. These omitted advantages can have a positive impact on the educational success of foster care children as well.

Barriers and Challenges to Inclusion

Not all researches perceive inclusion positively. Some see it as causing more harm than benefits. One barrier to inclusion is a priority given to the disabled learners in socialization over academic excellence (Berg, 2004). Another barrier is aerated when disabled children need special education classrooms to achieve maximum academic performance. One more impediment is the low self-esteem of the disabled school graduates (Berg, 2004). What is more, some disabled children may feel unsafe in the presence of regular students.

The noise and unnecessary movements of the disabled students may disrupt the learning of the non-disabled children. Non-disabled learners are frustrated by the special care given to the disabled students, and they view it as discrimination (Berg, 2004). Moreover, regular teachers fear that they might not have the necessary skills to deal with the disabled children. These instructors are also reluctant to give up control of their classrooms (Berg, 2004). Berg (2004) has discussed these barriers to inclusion in detail. These obstacles make the achievement of inclusion a slow process.

Inclusion creates some challenging barriers. A study that investigates the effectiveness of inclusion revealed that most inclusive schools performed more poorly as compared to the general educational establishments (Peaston, 2011). One of the cited objectives was the need to engage non-class-based staff into the learning process. This approach was seen as a setback in academic achievement, because this staff did not have the necessary training (Peaston, 2011). One more challenge that was identified by Peaston (2011) was the disruption of teaching and learning. Disabled children caused many interruptions in teaching and learning, which interfered with the normal learning. Hence, general education learners found it difficult to concentrate in such inclusive environment.

Studies show that the disabled children influence the behavior of the general education learners negatively due to their disabilities. The increased stress experienced by the professors is another challenge (Peaston, 2011). The last obstacle found by Peaston (2011) is the damaged long-term reputation of the school caused by poor performance due to the inclusive environment. Peaston (2011) outlined these points in a logical order and provided a comprehensive literature review. However, only a few challenges were discussed without any possible solutions. Most of the outlined barriers are real and they need to be addressed for the benefit of disabled children’s learning.

The achievement of successful inclusive education encounters many challenges, one of which is increased expenses. Funding is a major issue in this practice (Torreno, 2012). The teaching of disabled children in the general educational classrooms requires more specialists and more staff who would ensure that the learners’ needs are met. Another challenge is caused by the negative attitudes towards the disabled children demonstrated by regular teachers (Torreno, 2012). These instructors prefer teaching general learners, as they are easy to instruct. Thus, the training of special teachers who are supposed to cater for the challenged learners is inadequate.

Educational modifications pose another threat to inclusive learning. General educators must be willing to cooperate with special instructors in order to modify the curricula and meet the needs of all students (Torreno, 2012). The lack of cooperation is a major challenge in this process. There is a lack of effective communication among the teachers, staff, parents, specialists, administrators, and students, which creates a significant barrier to inclusive education (Torreno, 2012). Torreno (2012) has discussed these obstacles in a logical manner. However, his literature review was inadequate, and, hence, there are more issues than those identified by Torreno (2012). On the positive note, the discussed problems are practical and their solution can boost the learning of foster and disabled children.

The process of inclusion implementation continues to face several challenges in many parts of the world. These barriers are diverse in nature, and their effective resolution is necessary for the success of the whole educational system (Think Inclusive, 2015). One of such global challenges is caused by poor attitudes. The society continues to threat disabled children negatively, which causes discrimination and makes the achievement of inclusion difficult. The other barrier in this respect is a rigid curriculum (Think Inclusive, 2015). Instructors are not willing to modify the curricula to accommodate the disabled learners. Lastly, physical barriers make it difficult for the disabled children to access inclusive classrooms.

The professors who are not willing to accommodate disabled children in their classes pose a major threat to the achievement of inclusive environment. Moreover, some challenging students are taught in the language they do not understand, which poses significant communicational challenges (Think Inclusive, 2015). The last problem is caused by poor policies. Not all policy makers support inclusive education. Hence, they employ less effort towards its execution. Think Inclusive (2015) has discussed most of the barriers to inclusive education, but the literature review is not extensive enough. Moreover, the means to overcome them have to be discovered for the benefit of both foster and disabled children.

Discussion

Many studies have been investigating the benefits as well as barriers to inclusive education. Most of these issues and advantages are just theoretical, while only some of them are practical. The issues facing disabled children in foster care and child welfare organizations should be analyzed more thoroughly (Fisher et al., 2002). Children in foster care and child welfare organizations experience the same challenges as those in inclusive classrooms. According to the research conducted in the scope of this study, these are some benefits of inclusion. Studies show that disabled children form long-lasting and useful friendships with regular students (Henninger & Gupta, 2014). Disabled children also experience higher academic standards set by their peers, which boost their academic performance (Rosen, 2016). However, these benefits lack practical and more extensive use.

Most of the benefits of inclusion are only theoretical. The real world is very different. There is a large gap between the reality and theory, as indicated by the research. There is only a small shift towards inclusion in practice. The truth is that not all of the disabled children, as well as those in foster care and child welfare, enjoy the abovementioned advantages (Berg, 2004). For example, research indicates that the children with special needs benefit from the friendships and interaction with the regular learners, which help to boost their self-concepts and self-esteem. However, in another research, disabled children describe their experiences in inclusive classrooms negatively. They leave the classes due to the feelings of ridicule, frustration and low self-esteem. The learners with special needs require specialized education in order to realize their full potential.

The research has also shown that children in foster care and welfare organizations face similar challenges as those in the inclusive educational system. Most of these students need special care to achieve their education goals (Berg, 2004). In addition to the problems experienced due to inclusion, they suffer emotionally, socially, and psychologically during the separation from their real parents. This traumatic experience is linked to poor educational systems and developmental outcomes. Foster care and child welfare programs also face challenges as they struggle to adjust to the varying environments. Research shows that most of the children in these establishments exhibit the signs of withdrawal, aggression or depression after placement (Peaston, 2011). Those who are severely affected by the new environments fail to thrive, show self-stimulation, overeat, and experience sleep disturbance.

Including foster care and welfare system children into the regular education can make them undergo the challenges that disabled children experience in inclusive schools. In this case, the theories from various studies seem to reflect the practical issues that these students experience in inclusive schools. These obstacles can be minimized through the formulation of practical and reasonable governmental policies to support the efforts of foster care, child welfare, and inclusive education (Peaston, 2011).

The government should increase the funding of foster parents and inclusive schools to help them overcome these challenges. The instructors in inclusive schools and child welfare organizations should be adequately trained in order to manage poor attitudes towards these children (Torreno, 2012). The recent law regarding foster care and inclusion should be amended and all ambiguity should be removed from it. Unless these challenges are fully addressed, inclusion will not be achieved in full.

Conclusion

Many studies have been conducted in the area of inclusive education. The experts have identified various advantages
of inclusive education and its challenges. Some of the benefits are only theoretical. Moreover, many supporters of inclusion have never taken their time to understand the success of inclusive education from a practical perspective. Disabled children do not always enjoy the benefits associated with inclusion. There are many challenges that should be addressed for this program to be a success.

Children in foster care and welfare systems suffer from additional problems caused by the separation from their true parents. The process of inclusion only adds more emotional struggle to their academic performance. Poor policies have been identified as the leading cause of the failure of inclusive environments. The legal system does not provide a clear solution to this issue. The truth is that inclusive education will remain ineffective unless the above challenges are resolved. More research should be done in this area to find better guidelines to address the obstacles of inclusion.