Can integrated education meet the needs of students with SEN?

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Journal article

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New Horizons in Education

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Continuum of Alternative Placements and Services, Integrated Education, Special Education


Background: Integration of students with special education needs (SEN) into regular classrooms has been implemented for over three decades in the western world. Asian regions, particularly Hong Kong, follow the proclamation of the Salamanca Statement. In 1996, the Disability Discrimination Ordinance was enacted in Hong Kong. In 2004, the Hong Kong Government initiated the whole-school approach of integrated education. Focus of Discussion: The purpose of this paper was to review what recent literature has stated about integrated education or full inclusion. Research on the academic achievement of students with SEN in inclusive classrooms revealed mixed findings. As for the affective and social domains, studies indicated that the inclusive students were negative about their experiences in the mainstream classrooms and had lower self-concepts and self-esteem than their typically developing peers. Questions were raised to ask whether integration can address the special needs of students with SEN. Is integrated education the only education policy for students with SEN besides special schools? Recommendations: Suggestions were made for education policy-makers and parents of students with SEN to design the policy and programs to help the students to attain their individual educational and social needs. The authors of this paper do not support the elimination of alternative placements in favor of a universal policy of integrated education. An individual education program (IEP) should be developed to ensure any student with SEN receives appropriate education. In addition, the instructional placements and services should be determined based on the individual educational needs of students with SEN.

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Copyright © 2011 New Horizons in Education. All rights reserved. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

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Wong-Ratcliff, M., & Ho, K. K. (2011). Can Integrated Education meet the needs of Students with SEN? New Horizons in Education, 59(2), 101-115.