Thursday, April 16, 2015

Kliewer: Citizenship in School: Re-conceptualizing Down Syndrome Reflection

Before reading this chapter I'm ashamed to admit that I was actually skeptical. I was always under the assumption that individualized special education classrooms were a good idea for the special needs students to get the education that they needed. After reading this I realized that students with disabilities show the progress they do because they are integrated with typical students. While reading this it reminded me of Vygotsky’s social development theory. Vygotsky states that students learn better when they are around each other and collaborate. In order for them to get the most out of their education they cannot be only surrounded with people that are like them, just like typical students cannot be only surrounded with typical students. Their cognitive development also has a lot to do with social interaction. Every person in the educational system needs one another because no two people learn the same way. Segregated schools also cause a very thick line between typical students and students with disabilities. If I was not exposed to special needs students when I was in elementary school. I had a friend who had special needs in elementary school. He was fully integrated into my classroom and to this day we still have conversations very often. I believe it was because of the integrated schools that I am not uncomfortable around students with special needs. I cannot think of a single student that treated this boy badly. Everyone loved him and still loves him to this day. I remember he used to learn things differently with the help of his aid. This actually helped the entire class because we were taught those ways as well. In high school the students were not integrated, they were in a classroom and I could probably name 5 out of the 12 students in the special education classroom in the high school I went to. They were in a room at the other side of the school that I've never even been in. The students were involved in school activities and there were unified volleyball and basketball teams. The students picked up the recycling bins in the classrooms during homeroom to get social interaction with typical students. I really believe after reading this article that students with disabilities should be integrated with typical students. I related this to SCWAAMP. Students with disabilities are not typically able bodied. This could have something to do with why some people are so uncomfortable. If students with special needs are among typical students their confidence builds as well. They will no longer be afraid to go to school and they can learn effectively.

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