As others have said, in an ideal world yes - but in reality its is a case by case proposition. I think it is less difficult in primary school. Though these sames students aren't as easily accepted once they get to high school. Lastly, the funding isn't always there (regardless of what the government says about improving the educational experience of all students and claims on funding)and when this happens both the student suffers as well as the other forgotten participant - the rest of the students in their class. In an ideal world yes, in reality, no.I think at least some students are better off in special education, if only for social purposes. The "mainstream" students tend to not want them around, which leads to an increase in teasing, intimidation, etc. There's also the argument that mainstreaming just makes the whole class move slower. It really depends on the needs of the child. I have seen the benefits from both sides of the pendulum. Some children benefit immensely from mainstreaming. They begin to model great behaviors from the other children, as well as appreciate the challenge of "fitting in", whether it be socially or academically. This challenge is completely beneficial to them. Some children's needs require special education and mainstreaming can be a hindrance and a source of humiliation. For these children, selected mainstreaming might work, maybe in a subject they enjoy or during school activities so that the child isn't a complete outcast. Watch your children and their development and accommodate them accordingly. It really is a decision to make on an individual basis. "Least Restrictive Environment" does NOT mean inclusion. It means the best environment for the child to learn at his/her optimal level, safely. Mainstreaming works wonderfully for many students, and should be the ultimate overall goal of special education programs. However, a continuum of services, ranging from full inclusion to short pull-out programs to segregated classrooms should be always available to allow students to gain the best benefit possible from their school experience.
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