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Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA),Response to INCLUSION


From: Sara Scheid (scheidsa3_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Oct 24 2001 - 09:17:25 PDT

This response my give you some support for school change to develop
appropriate art classes for all.

Dear Sara,

Thanks for your comments about inclusion. The Learning Disabilities
Association of America (LDA), of which the Learning Disabilities
Association of New Mexico is a part, has been very concerned about
inclusion policies for some time. Although inclusion in the regular
classroom for all students is a worthwhile goal, if the appropriate
resources are not available, the situation becomes extremely frustrating
for everybody.

Following is the LDA position statement about inclusion, which dates back
to 1993 and is still the official position:

The Learning Disabilities Association of America, LDA, is a National,
not-for-profit organization of parents, professionals, and persons with
learning disabilities, concerned about the welfare of individuals with
learning disabilities. During the 1990-1991 school year 2,117,087 children
in public schools were identified as having learning disabilities. This is
more than fifty percent of the total number of students identified in all
disability categories.

"Full inclusion", "full integration", "unified system", "inclusive
education" are terms used to describe a popular policy/practice in which
all students with disabilities, regardless of the nature or severity and
need for related services, receive their total education within the
regular classroom in their home school.

The Learning Disabilities Association of America does not support "full
inclusion" or any policies that mandate the same placement, instruction,
or treatment for all students with learning disabilities. Many students
with learning disabilities benefit from being served in the regular
classroom. However the regular education classroom is not the appropriate
placement for a number of students with learning disabilities who may need
alternative instructional environments, teaching strategies, and/or
materials that cannot or will not be provided within the context of a
regular classroom environment.

LDA believes that decisions regarding educational placement of students
with learning disabilities must be based on the needs of each individual
student rather than administrative convenience or budgetary
considerations, and must be the result of a cooperative effort involving
educators, parents, and the student, when appropriate.

LDA strongly supports the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA) which mandates:
a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive
environment appropriate for the student's specific learning needs.
a team-approved individualized education program (IEP) that
includes current functioning levels, instructional goals and objectives,
placement and services decisions, and procedures for the evaluation of
program effectiveness.
a placement decision must be made on an individual basis and
considered only after the development of the IEP.
a continuum of alternative placements to meet the need of students
with disabilities for special education and related services
a system for the continuing education of regular and special
education and related services personnel to enable these personnel to meet
the needs of persons with disabilities.

LDA believes that the placement of all children with disabilities in the
regular classroom is as great a violation of IDEA as the placement of all
children in separate classrooms on the basis of their type of disability.

LDA urges the U.S. Department of Education and each state to move
deliberately and reflectively in school restructuring, using the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as a foundation-- mindful of
the best interests of all children with disabilities.

At 08:26 PM 10/23/01 -0500, you wrote:

How do teachers in different parts of the US rate the success of inclusion
policies for all students?
I think a lot of teachers would like support and information on how
to improve the improper inclusion policies at their schools.
On the many educational lists I belong to- too many teachers
are frustrated and not given the appropriate tools to handle inclusion
Too many special teachers(Art, Music, ,....)feel
their classes have become a dumping ground for the unmotivated and
behavior problem students that are not getting help. The class size is too
large 30 + and many times no aides are provided.
The special teachers planning time is not adequate for inclusion.
Schools are not hiring enough
special ed. teachers, counselors and character education leaders to
provide proper education for all.
How have schools solved the above problem?
I see this as a Crisis in the
American School System.
Sara Scheid