Wow, classrooms are constantly changing. My grandfather went to a one room school house. I wonder if they had students with learning disabilities. He is no longer here with us so I cannot ask. I'm doubting it as my grandfather only went to school through 8th grade before going to work on the farm and then retiring from GE. My grandfather was a self taught man. He had science projects set up all around the house. He built his own home which to this day is more solid than newer homes. Amazing, I wouldnt think of letting someone build my home or do repairs without having some sort of training. I know that back in this time most indivduals with disabilities were institutionalized. For years people have tried to get me working with special needs children. I didnt think I could handle it. I cried my first week; but now wouldnt trade it even on the worst of days.
I beleieve in inclusion. I don't however agree that 100% inclusion is appropriate for every indivdual in all settings. I am happy that classrooms are more inclusive than ever. I believe it makes a more tolerable society. I work primarily with Autistic children. Most of them look typical; yet some have self-stimulatory behavior or severe tantrums in response to light or noise. On community outings (especially families in the community) many of my parents feel overwhelmed with stress to have their children appear typical. They are not embaressed by their children but by their children's behaviors. These children have not yet built the skills to self regualte behaviors or have not built coping skills to deal with the noise or light. Many avoid taking their children out in public because of this. These children are losing out on the many life choices and situations to learn from their peers. They are missing out on playing on playgrounds where they have choices of what to play on and modeling typical peers playing for example.
In the classroom I believe students can learn in an inclusive and diverse room. I love learning about other peoples heritage. I especially love the food and dancing. Each person in this world has something to give and something to learn. While watching Gran Torino, I learned that in Mong culture that looking a person in the eye is offensive. Whereas, in the US it is a sign of respect. I am sure that many people have been offended by others of another cultures purely because of misinterpretation of body language or words. Allowing classrooms to become more diverse should lessen this gap and hopefully slow the violence within our schools.