Who is the winner with inclusion?
We have mentioned several times the rights and the opportunities which an inclusive school offers to children with special needs: the right to grow up with his peer group and to develop his cognitive capabilities in a school near his home. This is also the best way for the children to build up the social skills which will help them to become as autonomous and integrated as possible in their future lives.
However, it is also important to point out what the other people in an inclusive school are gaining. One could imagine that special needs children would monopolize too much of the teacher's attention to the detriment of the others. However, studies have shown that so-called “normal” children benefit from the arrangements put in place for their comrades. For example, visual aids used for children with learning problems often are a significant help for everyone. The systematic differentiation in all teaching, in effect, becomes an added benefit for all. Although, of course, the classroom teacher has to be able to depend on both technical and human help in order to serve everyone equally. Moreover, it is a part of the school program to base all work on the uniqueness of each human being and to be open to otherness. In this way, schools must offer children the possibility of meeting and spending time with the different kinds of people they will be exposed to in society1.
Therefore the society is inclusive. Within it everybody wins as its potential expands from others’ inputs whilst being respected and respectful of others.
1 THOMAZET Serge (2008), « L’intégration a des limites, pas l’école inclusive ! ». Revue des sciences de l’éducation, volume 34, numéro 1, p. 123-139. http://id.erudit.org/iderudit/018993ar
For further reading:
Here is a link (in French) which takes up the question of special needs children and their inclusion in normal schools with students between 10 and 13: http://www.ecole-inclusive.org/documents/MonQuotidien_EcoleInclusive.pdf