ADHD Inclusion / Mainstreaming in Vocational Schools Term Paper

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How has inclusion/mainstreaming worked to date in vocational schools? Include definitions of inclusion and mainstreaming.

Inclusion and mainstreaming have been the catch phrases in education for the past almost 40 years as several court cases, beginning in the 1970s, dictated that children, ev en with disabilities deserved equal education, as their peers and eventually maintained that such children deserved an educational environment that was the "least restrictive" possible. Prior to this time most children with even mild disabilities were either segregated in special classrooms or were offered no education whatsoever. "Finally, P.L. 94-142 was passed (1975) which mandated that children with special education needs are to be educated in the least restrictive environment." (Wilcox & Wigle, 1997, p. 371)

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Mainstreaming is the term that has since been used to describe the trend to include children with disabilities into the regular classroom. While the term inclusion is used to describe not only the placement of children with disabilities in the regular classroom but also the utilization of the same curriculum, wherever possible for these children. "Rather than "forcing" students with disabilities into an existing mainstream that is structured to teach everyone the same thing in the same way for the same amount of time, inclusion presumes a restructuring to accommodate individual student differences." (Proctor & Baker, 1995, p.224) Sometimes referred to as full inclusion, this goal has been difficult to achieve and most schools and districts have opted for progressive inclusion, where students are slowly worked into the curricular plan but have other outside and inside models often based upon individual learning plans (ILPs).

Term Paper on ADHD Inclusion / Mainstreaming in Vocational Schools Assignment

Vocational classes, in general education environments tended to be the trend for mainstreaming children with disabilities, which in many cases included general life lessons courses where children learned how to function as independents additionally some programs offered general education job coaching and other life skills courses, with the intention of people with disabilities who could do so seeking further education in post-secondary vocational settings at college. (Halpern, Yovanoff, Doren & Benz, 1995, p. 151) Though historically the vocational setting for students with disabilities has been a separate system that may utilize course materials and the like but rather is dependant on real work experience, that is deemed appropriate for the skill set of the individuals in it.

A several different pathways exist, including 4-year colleges, community colleges, and private vocational schools that offer certificates in a particular job area, such as hairdressing or serving as a nurse's aide. Community colleges are also themselves rather complex, offering a wide array of programs, including preparation for transfer to a 4-year college, specific vocational training accompanied by a degree or certificate, and many adult education courses that are not degree oriented and can address either vocational or a vocational content. At least in theory, all these options are also available to students with disabilities. In addition, students with disabilities sometimes have access to postsecondary education or training opportunities that are specifically designed for people with disabilities, such as job training programs supported by a vocational rehabilitation agency. (Halpern, Yovanoff, Doren & Benz, 1995, p.151)

For the most part dealing with transitional access to vocational training has not been fully inclusive, and mainstreaming is not common, except for the lowest levels of disabilities. One reason for this is that the services provided even by publicly funded institutions are paid services and therefore the general population enrolled has a high sense of the value of the service and does not seem to be receptive to people with substantial disabilities being included in mainstream classes. Additionally, it has proven difficult in trials for instructors to develop curriculum that can be inclusive for those with severe learning disabilities, though most institutions offer but rarely actually provide accommodations for the more severe of the disabled. "In this study...inclusive instruction...did not contribute to participation in postsecondary education...the mere presence of high school students with disabilities in integrated classroom settings had no apparent impact on the probability of their participation in postsecondary education." (Halpern, Yovanoff, Doren & Benz, 1995, p.151) the inclusion of ADHD in the mix of this question is inclusive of the issue of behavioral difficulties that often arise from the difficulty of such students to apply themselves, fully to instructional material. Sadly, the over emphasis of medicating such students, or even diagnosing those with less severe behavioral problems with ADHD when it is not warranted and other issues are to blame for problems has been the historical answer. The growing number of adults with ADHD seems to be helping the education system by offering insight into the thinking patterns and needs of individuals with ADHD, but progress is slow and overmedication still seems to be the answer in most cases. (Neven, Godber & Anderson, 2002, p. 5)

2. What teacher and curriculum initiatives are needed in inclusion and mainstreaming?

Initiatives for teachers and students are definitely necessary for full inclusion of even progressive inclusion. One suggestion is that instead of leaving teachers with current tools, and simply including special needs students into the mix we must offer the teacher support and access to resources he or she will need to help all students demonstrate learning. One suggestion is that curriculum be individually driven, rather than time driven as it currently is in most schools. Individual goal learning allows multi-age and multi-ability learning to take place, rather than all students being expected to meet certain "testing" deadlines. (Proctor & Baker, 1995, p.224) Another suggestion by Proctor and Baker, who advocate professional development schools involvement in inclusion is to create a sort of (SWAT) team consisting of multi-level experience educators who can assist the individual classroom instructors by providing specialized services and additional resources to teachers to meet the needs of a diverse student population. Another point that clearly must be addressed is the inclusion of special education materials in the traditional training that educators receive in their own professional education, so they are better prepared, both academically and psychologically, to tackle what many of them see as a daunting task (full inclusion). "...educators must recognize that students will master the important facts, skills, concepts and strategies at different times." (Proctor & Baker, 1995, p.224) and not be afraid of this outcome. ADHD seems to be one of the most difficult of the issues with regard to full inclusion, as people with the disorder often demonstrate additional behavioral aspects as a result of self preservation in an environment that does not keep their attention.

More "holistic/constructivist" models are now proposed, such as whole language and outcomes-based assessment, in which learning is defined as the construction of meaning by the learner in the context of her or his current knowledge (Poplin & Stone, 1992; Tarver, 1992). Cooperative learning and cooperative/democratic disciplinary approaches exist as alternatives or supplements to individualistic instruction and applied behavior management. Facilitated communication has been reported to result in dramatic breakthroughs for some people with autism (Biklen & Schubert, 1991; Putnam, 1994), although the efficacy of this approach is hotly debated by professionals in the field. (Putnam, Spiegel & Bruininks, 1995)

Educators need to be prepared to answer issues involving, not just academics but also behavior in a constructive manner, especially with regard to students with ADHD, as such students are often feared by the educators as those who will suck up all their time and leave them with less instructional time for other students. (Neven, Godber & Anderson, 2002, p. 27)

If high school counselors [and all teachers] are to be competent in helping students with ADHD prepare for their transition from high school into postsecondary education or the workplace, they must understand the educational, vocational, and social problems associated with students identified with ADHD. (Schwiebert, Sealander & Dennison, 2002, p.3)

3. How can your shop/shop related programs integrate mutually compatible career goals for all students. (how are the goals the students learn in class integrated to outside workplace?) Summarize career teacher major recommendations for helping these students with learning disabilities to be successful with their employers.

The vocational setting can be an indispensable environment for those with disabilities, especially ADHD as real work experience, rather than the expectations of the classroom are incorporated, and highly important in the shop/shop training one receives in a vocational school. The career goals are met in the shop/shop environment in the same manner as they would be in the real world. The shops, including culinary, carpentry, building & grounds, metal fab and certified nurses aide programs, run in the same manner as the real workplace and issues that are stressed in the workplace are also stressed here. Work is expected to be completed to the standard of the workplace, student/employees are expected to be punctual, reliable, and most importantly accountable for their work, its completion time and quality, yet they are also given instruction when any one of these issues becomes lacking for the individual. Unlike in the real world when employees would likely simply be let go for failing to meet the needs of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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