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Special, Integrated and inclusive education

Special, Integrated and Inclusive Education: Reflections
 Ram S. & Pooja V.

Special education is individualized educational instruction designed to meet the unique educational and related needs of students with disabilities. Special education provides learning opportunities that are not provide in standard or regular school curricula or by regular services. Special education programs are designed to be appropriate for the individual student. The individualized programming that is the core of special education must be provide in setting that best meet each special student’s needs. Special education includes related instructional services such as speech, physical and occupational therapy and transportation services. This studies about individuals who have problems or special talents in thinking, seeing, hearing, speaking and socializing. In other words, it is the study of individuals who are different from average persons. Special education is provided for children who are:

Education of these individuals is based on the individual needs. special education exists for the purpose of providing educational experiences to students who have not, or some times will not profit fully from the regular classroom experiences. A major goal of special educational is to enable special children to live in the most independent way possible. 
Its scope is very wide and it provides several types of services and training programmers from early intervention to vocational placement. It may include school based and home based programmers for children according to their special needs.


Special education programmers are always individualized instructional programmers. Which the child’s current level functioning provides the basis for identifying teaching methods and materials, suited to each child. The tasks of teaching are to be care fully analysis and sequenced an attempt is made that every child reaches his/ her optimum potentials and attains an independent level of functioning. The other features of special education are as follows:-

1. It provides for individual attention to each child.
2. It develops basic living skills for personal independence.
3. It provides structured learning programmer for the child in accordingly with his deficit skills.
4. It enables the child to gain social, emotional and intellectual development.
5. It helps and guides parents in getting co-operation from the appropriate services.


Integrated education was initially conceptualized as an alternative approach to bring all those unrelated disabled children under the umbrella of education. An improvement over the segregated education is the system of integrated education, which gained popularity in the early years of the second half of twentieth century. This system brought the disabled children into the regular school. In Integrated setup, children were being given special attention and curriculum etc according to their disability.
  Here integrated education does not mean that special schools would be closed but it envisages that when the disabled children many problems that emerge with the special schools may be tackled and the accessibility of education to disabled children would increase. Integrated education considers abilities and disabilities in many other aspects of learning – in music, painting, and other creative inhuman relationships,  not only in academic areas. Integrated education of the ‘abled’ and the ’disabled’ in a regular classroom system is the essential feature of a democratic system of education (Dr. Hant)
Integration does indicate acceptance of the idea that institutionalizing children who are handicapped or different should be abandoned wherever possible in favour of special classes in regular schools. In addition, integrated education helps those children who are identified as being exceptional; there are children who are referred to as children at risk. They are not yet identified as having a disability. However, they are considered to have a high probability of developing a disability. At risk students include students who are experiencing learning, socialization, and maturational difficulties in the regular classroom; are failing academic subjects; or are at risk of overall school failure and thus become identified as candidates for special education services (Heward, 1996)
Sader (1922-91) outline four possible types of ‘Integration’ of disabled children and children with their regular peers:

1) Physical Integration: Reduction of physical distance between disabled and regular children.

 2) Functional Integration: Reduction of functional distance between the two groups when they use different equipment and resources.

 3) Social Integration: Reduction in social distance between the two groups, social distance implies lack of contact and the psychological feeling cut off. The persons with disability are socially integrated if they form part of a community with them and feel themselves to be a “natural” part 
of the group.

4) Societal Integration: Refers to adults and signifies that the persons with disability have, as adults, the same access to resources as others, the same opportunity to influence their own situation, have a productive working role and form part of a social community with others.

The latest shift in the field of special education is the integrated education for the disabled towards their ’inclusion’.
The term inclusive education is more than a term It means to welcome all children without discrimination into the regular school. The students with disabilities are places in regular schools which provide resource room services as well as support teacher services, both in the same location. The term “inclusive education” refers to the system of education (including the institutions, curricular, teachers and teaching and evaluation methods) adopted in the regular children. It emphasized the need for mainstreaming of the persons with disabilities in the regular education for all. It has a large philosophy in the acceptance of diversity and how we deal with different children and their needs in the school system, teaching all children to understand are welcome regardless of differences. Inclusion means all children are welcome regardless of differences. Inclusion and inclusive education do not look at whether children are able to follow the mainstream education programme, but looks at teachers and schools that can adopt educational programmes to individual needs. The philosophy of Inclusive education rests on giving equal opportunities to an integrated group of persons with and without disability studying together.

 The main difference between the terms integration and inclusion is; the term “integration” means the placing of children with special educational needs in schools. The term ‘inclusion’ has a deeper connotation and does not only refer to children with disabilities, but includes all children who face some kind of barrier to learning. In my views other difference is-

Approach Special education approach is to enable special children to live in the most independent way possible Special education component is a part of the general education. Special education is and integral part of the general education system.
Location Specialized setting away from the regular schools. That is special units or classes in a regular school on the same site.  Sites are same as a regular school.
Social No social interaction with regular peers. Social Interchanges also takes place between disabled and regular students. Full socialization takes place.
Functional  Joining of their regular peers Is not possible. Special children almost joining their regular peers on a full or part time basis. Full time involvement
Services Such as speech, physical and occupational therapy. In such a setting only the disabled students reside and learn. Services such as remedial teacher, psychologist and may be speech therapist. Services such as special educator, remedial teacher and psychologist.
Educational provision Educational provision for children which cannot be satisfied by the present arrangements available in regular schools.
 Provision for who are identified as “Children at risk”. Means who are experiencing learning, socialization and maturational difficulties in the regular classroom. All students are welcomed.


Special School
      For Regular children  Don’t come to me; I am not for you.

Integrated School
           For Academic     Come, But you change, I won’t

Inclusive School
      For All      Welcome! Changes to respond to you.


• Social Attitude towards Disability
• Lack of Awareness
• Scarcity of Trained Teachers
• Absence of  Barrier- Free Environment
• Scarcity of proper Learning Material
• Resistance of parents

Hegarty, Seamus. & Alur, Mithu. (2008) :Education & Children with Special Needs:
   New Delhi : Sage Publications
Aggarwal, Rashmi. & Rao, B.V.L.N.(2007) : Education for disabled Children:
    New Delhi :Shipra Publications
Culatta, Richard A. & Tompkins, James R. (1999): Fundamentals of Special
    education: Columbus, ohio. : Merill, an imprint of prentice Hall
Winzer, Marget A. & Mazurek, Kas, (2000) : Special education in the 21st      
    Century:Washington, D.C : Gallaudet university press.
Kaur, Rajpal, (2005) : Special education New trends and innovations:
    New Delhi :Deep & Deep publications Pvt. Ltd.

ijsp online,
Jan 28, 2010, 9:04 PM