Benefits of Inclusion for All

Here are some of the reasons to provide opportunities for students with disabilities to learn and interact with their peers without disabilities. Including students with disabilities in the general education setting is incredibly important and can be beneficial for both groups of students, as well as for their parents, teachers, and program administrators.

Benefits for Typical Peers

  • Higher levels of acceptance and tolerance increasing over time
  • Growth in the areas of responsibility and self-concept
  • More realistic expectations and perceptions of students with disabilities
  • Typical peers voluntarily take on roles of helpers and tutors
  • Access to strategies presented by the co-teacher
  • Access to special educators and other service providers
  • Opportunities for leadership roles

Benefits for Students with Disabilities

  • More contact with typical peers across a wider range of settings and activities
  • Receive and provide higher levels of social support
  • Enjoy larger friendship networks
  • Engage in relationships with typical peers that are durable
  • Increase in extra-curricular activities
  • Decrease in inappropriate social behaviors
  • Generalize to home and community environment
  • Learn age-appropriate social skills by imitating students without disabilities in the environments where they are needed
  • Provide a more challenging environment for students with disabilities
  • Learn to be more independent and acquire developmentally advanced skills
  • Develop friendships and a more positive self-image by having the opportunity to do what other students do

Benefits for Teachers

  • General education teachers have the opportunity to learn about disabilities and special education
  • Special education teachers have frequent contact with normally developing students and, therefore, have more realistic expectations for the students they teach
  • Both groups of teachers are able to exchange information about instructional activities, teaching strategies, and best practices, thus expanding their skills

Benefits for families of Students With and Without Disabilities

  • Have opportunities to see that many of their children’s behaviors are typical of most students
  • See their children accepted by others and successful in integrated settings
  • Feel better about themselves and their children
  • Parents of children with disabilities also have the chance to become acquainted with other parents and participate in the same activities
  • Providing positive experiences in integrated settings allows children without disabilities and their parents to learn about disabilities and develop positive attitudes about people with disabilities. Integration can expand and enhance the personal experiences of children, parents, and teachers.

Administrators

  • Educating students with and without disabilities together can facilitate major change and transformation of general education to better address the needs of all students
  • Staff skills may improve through in-service and modeling opportunities
  • Everyone benefits from having increased classroom and staff resources
  • Families and IEP teams may be able to choose between a greater number of service delivery options for students with disabilities

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