Inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream primary education:A parents and teachers view.
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This study sets out to explore inclusion of children with disabilities in mainstream primary education. It examined the view of professionals and parents in the area of inclusion in mainstream education. The study was conducted on five teachers working in a local primary school and four parents of children who have a disability. The main objectives of this study were; •To identify the benefits of inclusion for children with disabilities .•To explore the challenges that children with disabilities may encounter in inclusive education system.•Identify the challenges that the teachers, parents and other children may encounter in an inclusive environment. •To explore what can be done to promote inclusion in the education system. It was decided to undergo this particular topic as it was an area of particular interest. The interest was particularly in whether or not schools around the country are following legislation and polices in relation to the inclusion of children in mainstream education. Qualitative research was undertaken in the form of structured and semi-structured interviews as this method allows for the collection of rich data from participants. Due to this topic being a sensitive topic, this was the best approach because if any participant were to feel uncomfortable at any time they could skip a question or finish the interview at any stage. Participants that were selected for the research study interviews were teachers that are currently teaching and parents that currently have a child with a disability that is involved in some form of an in inclusive learning environment. The main findings from this study were in line with the aims of objectives and are broken up into reoccurring themes. The benefits that were found from this study include the social development for children with disabilities. All participants agreed that children with disabilities benefited from being included within a mainstream inclusive learning environment. Although, the benefits were largely associated to social benefits there was only one reference to the academic benefits. This is an area that needs to be looked at in the future for inclusive environments to not only benefit the child with disabilities socially but also academically.There were many challenges associated with an inclusive learning environment. The lack of funding and resources available to children with disabilities was found throughout. There was a lack of Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) support to children with disabilities. It was found that the SNAs had more than one child to support at once and at times had to try calm down and resolve two situations at the one time. Time constraints for teachers were a challenge as they found it difficult to achieve IEP (individual educational programmes) for children with disabilities. It was found in the study that partnerships between all professionals; teachers, parents and professionals such as speech and language therapists need to be brought together to achieve the best possible education for the child with a disability. Currently some parents have to bring their child outside of school hours to other professionals; this may have a knock on effect on both the child’s time within the classroom setting and parents who may have to take an annual leave holiday to bring their child to these appointments. This is an area that professional bodies need to employ more supports within mainstream education. If this were to happen the development of an inclusive environment can be achieved.
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