Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Theory Connection #3

"acceptance is the aim when children with Down syndrome join their non-disabled peers in classrooms, and many schools and individual teachers have entered into this effort" (74)

In "Citizenship in School: Reconceptualizing Down Syndrome" by Christopher Kliewer, he argues that although students with disabilities learn differently, specifically Down syndrome, they should not be segregated from a normal integrated classroom. Segregating children who have Down syndrome or any disability takes away from the learning environment. Kliewer believes students would experience a richer learning environment if all classrooms include students with differently learning abilities. All children need to be valued because everyone has something to offer, with or without a disability.

Practice Example
I had the chance to work in a self-contained classroom for my service learning project at Asa Messer. A self-contained classroom has a fewer number of students which enhance my support for students than a typical class would. This classroom contained students with all types of learning abilities. My integration classroom had a child with Down syndrome, ESL students, Autism, low levels of attention span, and some children have no disability. This classroom is mixed with kindergarten, first, and second graders. I believe this classroom is a classroom that Kliewer would say is supporting all children's participation. At one of my service learning sessions, I was able to attend gym and art class. In these elective classes, my classroom was integrated with different classes which I believe is an awesome opportunity to not just get away from their class but to also interact with different children.
So what?
In many schools, students who have disabilities are placed in a segregated classroom, are lacking educational opportunities that other students are receiving. This is not fair. I see why isolating and segregating children to give them more attention can be beneficial; however this limits their social growth. Asa Messer does a nice job combining children in classrooms to be able to contribute in the same opportunities. Kliewer says that including students who have disabilities can make a difference in recognizing each individual's value and developing an appreciation for one another. 

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