The Benefits And Risks Of Inclusion For Deaf Students

What is the difference between inclusion and mainstreaming?

While there are many different resources and definitions that have their own take on the difference between inclusion and mainstream education, I understand these two terms to mean the following (a), (b):

MAINSTREAMING: Mainstreaming is when a student with an IEP is placed in a general education classroom as much as possible but still maintains some education time that is spent with a special education teacher in a special education classroom.

INCLUSION: Inclusion is when a student with an IEP is put into a general education classroom with the expectation that he or she will participate in this classroom as much as possible. The goal is to bring the services and modifications necessary for that student into the general education classroom. The general education teacher and the special education teacher work together to support the student. Full inclusion is also an option, which would mean the student receive all of his/her accommodations and support in the general education classroom.

Pros and Cons to Inclusion for Deaf Students (c)

Benefits of Inclusion for Deaf Students

1.Deaf students interact with the hearing world- Through daily interaction with the hearing world, deaf students are able to develop skills in communicating with those who can hear. This exposure can be powerful training for students as they prepare for communicating in the hearing world.

2. Deaf students become socialized with the hearing world- While the deaf community has developed a strong culture of its own, it is important that deaf students also learn how to operate in the hearing world. By having daily interactions with his/her hearing peers, the student is able to develop important social skills that will be useful in the future.

3. Deaf students have access to academic, vocational and extracurricular programs- By participating with the hearing world, deaf students gain access to a wide range of resources that can help the student develop physically, socially, academically, and emotionally.

4. Deaf students can live close to home—In order to attend a school for the deaf, some students must live at the school because it is too far from their home. By attending a local school, that student can live at home and receive the important support from his/her family and friends.

Risks of Inclusion for Deaf Students(c)

1. Deaf students run a high risk of isolation—If the teacher and/or students are not trained in sign language and other methods to engage and interact with deaf students in a general education classroom, then the deaf student runs high risk of feeling isolated in the classroom. Not only can this be emotionally detrimental for the deaf student, but this could also mean that he/she will miss out on important learning and skill development.

2.Deaf students may have limited opportunities for direct instruction-When a deaf student is included into an general education class, this usually means that he/she is receiving instruction through a translator. Again, this can have serious implications for the student’s development.

3. Deaf students may have limited opportunities for direct interaction to build relationships—Not only is a student’s learning limited by the lack of direct interaction and instruction form a teacher, but the student may also be unable to directly communicate with other providers at the school. This can limit the amount of support a student receives inside and outside the classroom.

4. School setting may lack quality support staff—Many school districts lack a sufficient number of qualified, trained support staff who can serve deaf students.

What do deaf students think about inclusion?

While the research is mixed on the benefits and risks of inclusion for deaf students, one study surveyed successful deaf students who were included in general education programs to find out how students, teachers, and other professionals explained the success of these students.

The students believed that they were successful because they 1) worked hard, 2) had strong family support, 3) received high expectations from their families, 4) received support from friends and 4) were involved in sports teams.

For more information on what the teachers, families and school professionals thought, use ProQuest to read the following article:

Luckner, John L., and Sheryl Muir. ”Successful Students Who are Deaf in a General Education Setting.” American Annals of the Deaf. Washington: Dec 2001.

Document URL: http://www.aladin.wrlc.org/Z-WEB/Aladin?req=db&key=ALADINPROXY&url=http://proquest.umi.com.proxyau.wrlc.org/pqdweb?did=110249809&sid=5&Fmt=4&clientId=31806&RQT=309&VName=PQD

(a) “Mainstreaming vs. Inclusion.” http://web.grinnell.edu/courses/mitc/vandergr/201%20Web%20site/Inclusion.htm. July 18, 2007.
(b) Macomb/ St. Clair County, Autism Society of America. “Autism Awareness.”
http://www.macombasa.org/definitions.htm July 18, 2007.

(c) http://www.ericdigests.org/1998-2/inclusion.htm

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