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The Individual Education Planning Committee: A Step in the History of Special Education.

The Problem

If most restrictive is to be changed to least restrictive, the following must happen.

1. It must be recognized that a program of normalization will not and cannot take place overnight. ...

2. We must recognize that a concept of normalization leading to an appropriate understanding of least restrictive placement is a total community decision and, as such, requires total community orientation. ...

a) There must be a total understanding and a positive decision regarding normalization (its advantages and its limitations) by every member of the board of education. ...

b) All administrators and supervisors of the school system must have a complete understanding of the program. ...

c) All teachers, school nurses, social workers, psychologists, and other professional staff utilized within the school(s) must have a thorough orientation both to the psychoeducational characteristics of all types of exceptional children and also to the concept of normalization and integration of various exceptional children within the ordinary classroom. ...

d) All support personnel in the school system (i.e., secretaries, bus drivers, custodians and clerks) need a good orientation to what may be a different type of pupil in the school or on the buses. ...

e) All of the so-called normal pupils in the elementary and secondary schools must have a full orientation to the exceptional child who may be joining their classroom or their school. ...

f) Finally, the parents of all children in the community, those of normal children as well as those of exceptional children, must understand the new program being launched in their schools. ...

3. We must recognize that all types of educational programs are necessary in a province, state, or individual school system. There are several premises as the basis of the statement.

a) Although there are constitutional rights and guarantees, or at the state or provincial level laws and local school regulations, endowing many things to people with disabilities, our societies have never recognized them with full acceptance. ...

b) We must recognize that archaic attitudes toward the people with disabilities still exist. On all sides we still hear children referred to as "deaf and dumb." ...

c) Fear and guilt as well as gross misunderstanding regarding disabilities are still factors that motivate people. ...

A program of mainstreaming, then, requires a number of things in addition to those that we have mentioned.

1. There must be selective placement of children in ordinary classes based on parental and child participation in the decision.

2. Not all exceptional children can or should be placed in regular classrooms.

3. Mainstreaming, when adequately programmed, is not less costly than self-contained special education classrooms.

4. When there is a normalization program put in place, school administrators must provide for an appropriate reduction in the teacher-pupil ratio to make possible the individualized instruction that will be required. This will be dependent on many variables such as the degree of disability, the level of intelligence, and the nature of the needs of the normal children in the classroom.

5. The school administration must provide the appropriate numbers of aides in the normalized classroom, and a program utilizing volunteers in the classroom must be implemented.

6. No single teacher can solve all of the problems of all children, particularly when some of these problems are neurologically based or when the teacher has had little or no experience with a given disability type.

7. Continuous assessment and evaluation of the exceptional children must be planned and provided at frequent intervals by teachers, school psychologists, or others. This means additional in-service education in most school systems.

8. We must see to it that school buildings are totally accessible to people with disabilities. This includes stairways, toilets, gymnasium facilities and equipment, lockers, shower rooms, doorknobs, auditorium facilities, water fountains, lunchroom counters, telephone booths, etc. The exceptional child with whatever disability cannot ever be left behind because of environmental limitations over which he or she has absolutely no control.
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Author:Cruickshank, William M.; Morse, William C.; Grant, James O.
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Article Type:Excerpt
Date:Apr 1, 1992
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