To ensure maximum success for the student who will be place in the inclusional classroom/mainstreamed, here is a handy checklist to ensure that sucess is maximized for both teacher and student.
- No surprises please! The child needs to know what to expect. This means making sure they fully understand the rules and routines expected. The child should be well prepared and fully understand what consequences are when the rules are broken.
The regular classroom teacher has been fully informed of the child's strengths, weaknesses and how to maximize success for the child. The teacher needs to know how long the child can focus for and what the preferred learning style is. The regular teachers needs to know the child's level of functioning and how to use any specialized equipment the child may have. The teacher needs to be committed to maximizing success for the student.
- The regular classroom students need to be prepared for the incoming student. It helps to have a few peers support the child and become the child's special friend(s). The teacher will need to make sure the rest of the class understand why it is important to fully include the the child.
- The regular classroom teacher will need to know what type of support is in place once the child is in the mainstream/regular class.
- The child's parents should be involved in the process. They will need to meet with the regular teacher and have confidence that their child's interests are a priority, good relationships are essential.
- The parents should be given information on what to expect and how they can help and home in a supportive role.
- The child's IEP should be well known by the regular teacher and the parents should be able to have confidence that the IEP will be fully implemented and revised as necessary based on the child's needs and strengths and to maximize the learning opportunities.
- The classroom environment must be maximized to support the child which will vary depending upon the nature of the special needs. The special education teacher will work with the regular classroom teacher to ensure that the classroom environment supports the child.
There are huge social, emotional and academic benefits to mainstreaming, however, everyone needs to be on the same page and committed to success on behalf of the student. It is also important to note that change takes time, there will be a period of adjustment and during this period, patience and ongoing committment will be required.