An Overview of Inclusive Education in the United States

An Overview of Inclusive Education in the United States

Mokter Hossain (University of Dhaka, Bangladesh and University of Nevada, Reno, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-878-1.ch001
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Being a country of diversity, the United States has had a long tradition of research and practices in special education in the form of inclusion. Since passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) of 1975, now referred to as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004, a free appropriate public education has been available to all children with disabilities. However, inclusion of students with disabilities into general education classrooms has taken decades to be considered appropriate practice. Controversies, research, and legislation have shaped a collaborative relationship between general and special education. A wide range of political, epistemological, and institutional factors have facilitated a more child-centered public education. This chapter presents an overview of current issues and practices in the inclusion of students with disabilities in the U.S. The topics include: historical background; public laws that led to successful inclusion; categories and prevalence, and identification strategies; and inclusion practices for students with mild-to-moderate and selective significant disabilities for providing them equal and appropriate educational experiences in the mainstream classrooms.
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In today’s schools students with disabilities who receive special education services are typically included in general education classrooms with their typically developing peers. Special education is not a place, but rather a set of instructional services. Further, inclusion is not just a place or a classroom setting either; it is a philosophy of education that integrates children with disabilities into educational settings in which meaningful learning occurs (Osgood, 2005). Inclusion means that all students, regardless of disability are included in the school community as valued members of the school. As valued members of the school, students with disabilities actively participate in the academic and extra-curricular activities of the school community; and they are given the instructional and behavioral support to succeed (McLeskey, Rosenberg, & Westling, 2009). Specifically, students with disabilities have access to the same educational opportunities as their peers. Unlike the dated practice of mainstreaming, in an inclusive classroom students are participating members of the general education classroom and do not belong to any other separate, specialized environment based on the characteristics of their disability (Halvorsen & Neary, 2009).

The period between 1900 and the 1970's is typically referred to as the isolation phase. Children with disabilities were segregated from their non-disabled peers for centuries. In the first half of the twentieth century, when the free public compulsory education began nationwide, students with moderate to severe disabilities were often denied the opportunity to receive equal treatment in the classrooms with their peers. Throughout the twentieth century educators, parents and activists have called for more equitable, normal treatment of these students.

Landmark legislation and litigation, significant political events, and the courageous advocacy of parents, teachers and educators shaped the integration phase of services for students with disabilities. The passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) of 1975 made special education mandatory in the United States. Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) was actually the first protection of American students with disabilities against discriminatory treatment by public education agencies (Wong, 1993). The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA) of 1975 was modified several times to strengthen the protection of students with disabilities. It was renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1990 and reauthorized in 1997 and, again, in 2004. During this time the identification of integration of children with disabilities into mainstream life were paramount.

The current inclusion phase in special education was ushered in with the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 reauthorization. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) incorporates most of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements for students with disabilities. It emphasizes school accountability ensuring that students with disabilities have access to the regular classroom and are successful with the regular education curriculum. Together, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) entitle all students to be included in the general education classroom to the greatest extent possible. Performance goals and indicators for students with disabilities were established to ensure expected outcomes. Schools are accountable for making sure students with disabilities achieve expected standards and that these students be included in district- and state-wide assessments (Hope, 2009; Gartland & Strosnider, 2004; Kleinert, Kennedy, & Kearns, 1999).

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Dawn O. Braithwaite
Joan E. Aitken, Joy Pedego Fairley, Judith K. Carlson
Joan E. Aitken, Joy Pedego Fairley, Judith K. Carlson
Chapter 1
Mokter Hossain
Being a country of diversity, the United States has had a long tradition of research and practices in special education in the form of inclusion.... Sample PDF
An Overview of Inclusive Education in the United States
Chapter 2
Cindy K. Sherman, Susan De La Paz
Information and Communication Technology is becoming an essential learning tool for teachers and students in the classroom. The use of Information... Sample PDF
Technology to Facilitate the General Education Curriculum
Chapter 3
Maura Wechsler Linas, Joan E. Aitken
A disproportionately high number of students who live in urban centers are found eligible for special education services. For some of these... Sample PDF
Integrated Technology for Culturally Competent Communication in Urban Schools
Chapter 4
Narissra Maria Punyanunt-Carter, Stacy L. Carter
This book chapter proposes a research agenda for determining, describing, and depicting special needs students’ self-disclosure behaviors via the... Sample PDF
Understanding Students with Special Needs Self-disclosure in Internet Chat Rooms: Applying the Communication Privacy Management Theory to Internet Communications
Chapter 5
Prince Hycy Bull
Spatial constructivist thinking theory is an alternative method of presenting digital materials to enhance the learning process of special needs... Sample PDF
Using Spatial Constructivist Thinking Theory to Enhance Classroom Instruction for Students with Special Needs
Chapter 6
Judy L. Carroll
Federal law supports the use of assistive technology in the education of students with disabilities. Arguably, wheelchairs are included as assistive... Sample PDF
Wheelchairs as Assistive Technology: What a Special Educator Should Know
Chapter 7
Arthur W. Blaser
This chapter describes the author’s experiences in using assistive technology in undergraduate teaching. He argues for the importance of recognizing... Sample PDF
Trial and Error with Assistive, Accessible, Augmentative Technology
Chapter 8
Andrew Kitchenham, Doug Bowes
In this chapter, the authors discuss the promise of speech or voice recognition software and provide practical suggestions for the teacher or any... Sample PDF
Voice/Speech Recognition Software: A Discussion of the Promise for Success and Practical Suggestions for Implementation
Chapter 9
Harris Wang
Everyone has the right to learn and to succeed in education. For people with certain disabilities, learning can be a challenging task, and proper... Sample PDF
A Guide to Assistive Technology for Teachers in Special Education
Chapter 10
Mary Spillane
Current federal legislation requires not only that students with disabilities be educated in the least restrictive setting but also that all... Sample PDF
Assistive Technology: A Tool for Inclusion
Chapter 11
Helen J. Farrell
Like special education settings and classroom groupings of students with complex educational needs are observed within and across education systems... Sample PDF
The Student with Complex Education Needs: Assistive and Augmentative Information and Communication Technology in a Ten-Week Music Program
Chapter 12
Anna S. Evmenova, Michael M. Behrmann
A myriad of assistive/instructional technologies are available for students with high-incidence disabilities (Learning... Sample PDF
Communication Technology Integration in the Content Areas for Students with High-Incidence Disabilities: A Case Study of One School System
Chapter 13
Ian J. Loverro, David J. Majsterek, David N. Shorr
No Child Left Behind emphasizes evidence-based practice (EBP) as a benchmark for educational interventions. Research summaries and meta-analyses... Sample PDF
Signage as a Classroom Prompt: An Evidence-Based Practice?
Chapter 14
Stein Brunvand
There are a multitude of high-quality Web-based resources available for teachers to use with students across the curriculum. Having a systematic way... Sample PDF
Using Social Bookmarking to Make Online Resources More Accessible
Chapter 15
Lora Cohn
Accommodations for a student with a traumatic brain injury in graduate level class go beyond extended time for completing assignments. Additional... Sample PDF
Reflections on Teaching Students with Special Needs in an Online Master’s Program
Chapter 16
Judah B. Axe
Tactile prompts can be worn by children with autism to cue them to make social initiations to peers and make eye contact and respond to adults’... Sample PDF
Using Tactile Prompts to Increase Social-Communicative Skills with Children with Autism
Chapter 17
Sean Zdenek
This chapter explores the value of closed captioning in universal design. While closed captions positively impact a wide range of our students—deaf... Sample PDF
Personal Reflections on the Educational Potential and Future of Closed Captioning on the Web
Chapter 18
Joan E. Aitken
The purpose of this chapter is to analyze parental use of an online support group about their children with disabilities. A content analysis was... Sample PDF
Parental Communication About the Needs of Their Children: As Expressed in an Online Support Group
Chapter 19
Mandi Sonnenberg
Interactive whiteboards (IWBS) became obtainable in the early 1990’s. An IWB is an electronic, interactive board which is either mounted or mobile.... Sample PDF
Are you SMARTer than a SMART Board™?: How to Effectively Use This Technology Tool to Communicate in a Classroom With a Diverse Group of Learners
Chapter 20
Marni Gail Jones, Christopher L. Schwilk, David F. Bateman
Advances in technology have produced a variety of ways for students with a print disability to access written material through audio format: from... Sample PDF
Reading by Listening: Access to Books in Audio Format for College Students with Print Disabilities
Chapter 21
Cindy L. Anderson
Two accessible games were the focus of a study involving inclusive fourth grade classrooms in a suburban Chicago elementary school district. The... Sample PDF
Integrating Accessible Multiplication Games into Inclusive Classrooms
Chapter 22
Bryan Meadows
Ultrasound technology aids pronunciation training because it makes visible what ordinarily is not. Ultrasound technology produces a real-time visual... Sample PDF
Do You See What I’m Saying?: Ultrasound Technology As A Tool For Pronunciation Instruction
Chapter 23
Judith K. Carlson
This chapter describes an assistive technology device called a digital pen. Digital pens allow notes written to be uploaded to a computer and... Sample PDF
What Do You Do With A Digital Pen?
Chapter 24
Seok Kang
This chapter explores educational tools that adopt the interactive nature of communication technologies. The effectiveness of communication... Sample PDF
Communication Technologies for Instructional Use: Linear and Nonlinear Tools Contributing to Student Learning
Chapter 25
Joy E. Harris
When newly graduated teachers enter the classroom, they are expected to possess the knowledge to adequately teach students with a wide variety of... Sample PDF
Teaching What We Don’t Know: Failing to Adequately Prepare Teachers to Use Technology for the Benefit of Students with Special Needs
Chapter 26
Alex Thompson
This chapter introduces ten websites that can be used to access and reference information on assistive technology. Assistive technology is defined... Sample PDF
Ten Hot Assistive Tech Websites That You Won’t Want to Miss
List of Abbreviations
About the Contributors