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"AND""OR"

Special Education
New York State has been debating the idea of mainstreaming the learning disabled student back into the general education classroom for some time. The research described in this journal article describes the positive and negative effects of mainstreaming the special education student by observing general education classroom teachers to determine if they can accommodate the students with disabilities. This study has shown that these educators had accepted the mainstreamed student with a learning disability into their classroom and treated them as fair as the other students although, they did not make specific classroom arrangements or accommodations for a learning disabled curriculum. Materials for learning were consistent for both the learning disabled student as well as the general education student, even though there was a cognitive gap between what the learning disabled students knew and the material used in class. The learning disabled students were attentive in class, but participated infrequently. Very few students volunteered o answer questions and asking for help was virtually non-existent. Also, the mainstreamed learning disabled student reacted and interacted with the general education student at an extremely low rate. As shown by this study, there are many problems with mainstreaming the learning disabled student back into the classroom. First and foremost, is that the educators will need to be taught the skills to accommodate the student with a learning disability. There are different techniques in teaching special education and many educators, especially at the secondary grade levels, do not possess these skills. Even in the study, the educators used in this research were not trained in special education. They proclaimed themselves eligible to teach learning disabled students. A second problem with the mainstreamed learning disabled student is that of time orientation. Learning disabled students need special attention. Often they need material read to them in order to fully comprehend the task in hand. Some even need questions read and recorded on tests. In general, they need more one on one instruction. A single teacher can not handle this work load, especially in the large group format of the general education class that usually encompasses twenty to twenty-five students. This class size is to large and is an inhibiting restriction for the learning disabled student. The educators need assistants trained in teaching special education students. This is where para educators could be productive. A para educator trained in this field of special education would enable the teacher to have adequate time to discuss lessons while giving the special education student time for more one on me instruction. This study showed learning disabled students would not ask for help or answer questions alone, so maybe they would feel more comfortable with an assistant by their side offering reinforcement and quidence. Even with teachers taking the extra time needed to learn the skills needed to teach the learning disabled student, and educated para professionals at their side, the next problem that can hinder the progress of this type of education is money. The question that we will all ask is, Would their be enough allocated federal and state funds to pay for teachers with better skills? Also, every room on the general education class would have to have one or more para educators. Also, with more students being mainstreamed back into these schools, classroom sizes being reduced to accommodate these students needs, classroom space is going to be limited. More money is going to be needed to construct extra wings and possibly more schools. Even with the funds to pay for everything we have just mentioned, bringing in a new student with learning disability would have to be on an individual basis. A staffing on the student would have to happen to evaluate if that student could survive and excel in a general education classroom.

 



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