Chapter 9-Inclusion-1 Chapter 9 Learners with Special Needs in General Education ClassroomsSetting the Classroom SceneMeet Mrs. Jonas. She has been a teacher for fifteen years, primarily in lower elementary grades where she has taught Kindergarten, First, and Third grade classes. She is about to begin her second year teaching a third grade class, and considers herself a veteran and effective teacher. During her career she has generally had very few students with IEPs in her classrooms, mainly because in her school system the majority of students are not fully evaluated for special education services until their second grade year. In fact, Mrs. Jonas has never had a class with more than two students with IEPs. Until this year.During the work days prior to the school year starting Mrs. Jonas is given her class roster and notices that four of the students have an asterisk by their names. She knows the asterisk means the student qualifies for special services, either due to being eligible for special education services, being noted as at risk, or being identified as an English Language Learner. She knows that asterisk may mean gifted, but also knows that is rare in the lower elementary grades. She asks some questions about her roster and is surprised to find that all four of the students have IEPs. Two of the students have qualified for special education services with a specific learning disability in reading, one of the students has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and qualifies for special education, and the fourth student has a hearing impairment that requires special education services. Mrs. Jonas has not dealt with this degree of special education diversity in one class before, and has to take a moment to ponder what these students’ needs will mean for her teaching. Mrs. Jonas is representative of many teachers across the country and around the world who find themselves teaching classes with multiple students receiving special education services. And while many teacher education programs require at least one class with a specific focus on special education,
Chapter 9-Inclusion-2 these classes alone are insufficient to fully prepare general education teachers to support students with a wide range of disabilities who are often taught in general education classrooms. This chapter will begin with a brief history of special education and the laws that guide its provision in the United States, followed by a review of the 13 categories of disability under federal law. The chapter will then close with a review of some common evidence based practices that teachers can utilize to support students with special needs, followed by a case study focusing on Mrs. Jonas’s class, described briefly above. Pre-Reading Questions1)What are some of the issues confronting Mrs. Jonas? Why would she think this class may pose a unique set of challenges for her?