ShouldAutistic Children Be in Mainstream Classrooms
Autisticchildren encounter challenges that might affect the manner in whichthey interact with others in the mainstream classrooms. The diagnosisof autism has increased, and since legal mandates indicate thatchildren with disabilities should have equal rights, more autisticchildren are attending mainstream classes (Schopler and Mesibov 156).Placing autistic children in the conventional learning settingprovides them the necessary support that would enable them toparticipate in activities together with the typically developingpeers. Separating autistic children from the rest of the students inan educational institution could make them feel stigmatized, and theymight encounter major challenges as they interact with others.
Educatingautistic children in mainstream classes makes them have a sense ofbelonging in the community considering that they also need exposureto role models outside the special classrooms. However, the labelingof autistic children as handicapped could make some of theirtypically developing peers and educators in regular classes to treatthem differently. For instance, some teachers might initially find itdifficult to cope with the behavioral issues that autistic childrenhave. Nevertheless, different educational approaches such as regularclasses, mainstream classrooms with embedded services, and allyear-round schools are available, and an autistic child cancomfortably fit in one of those (Schopler and Mesibov 162). Suchsettings would evidently enable the kids to feel that they are notdifferent from others.
Includingautistic children in regular classrooms provides them an opportunityto socialize with their typically developing peers. Interactionsbetween autistic children and their peers not only help those withdisabilities, but it is also beneficial to other community members.When children ailing from autism socialize with others in the regularclassroom setting, their peers become more accustomed to them, andthis creates an appropriate social interaction model (Allen andCowdery 9). As these children get out of the school setting, theyhave to interact with different people, and it would be essential forthem to know how to relate and become friends with each other.Typically developing children would also appreciate the differencesthat the disabled have, and they would not judge them.
Separatingchildren with autism from others is one of the main reasons theymight fail to develop properly. The creation of such divisions in theeducational setting results in misunderstanding, as well asrejections (Allen and Cowdery 9). As a result, autistic childrencould fail to develop social relationships with others since theymight feel that they cannot fit in the standard settings. Equallyimportant, separating them from the others implies that there wouldbe a delay of their reentry into the real world (Allen and Cowdery9). When children with autism fail to learn together with theirnormally developing peers in usual classes, they will not acquirehealthy social skills, and this slows the rate of their development.
Mostof the children without developmental disorders often learnfunctional skills without any problem. However, autistic childrenhave to be trained so that they can progressively acquire similarskills. By including autistic children in mainstream classrooms, thedevelopment of their emotional and social behaviors significantlyimproves compared to when they are separated from their peers (Gupta,Henninger, and Vinh 38). The interaction between these two groups ofstudents exposes the autistic children to the peers with socialskills, and this might help them acquire similar behaviors.
Someof the features present in autistic children might make it difficultfor them to socialize with their typically developing peers, butincluding them in mainstream classes facilitates their development.By placing autistic children in the regular educational programs, thetypically developing peers might become their models, and this couldimprove their communication skills (Schopler and Mesibov 200). Sinceautistic children often experience delays in language development,interacting with their peers would be appropriate since it eliminatessuch problems.
Autisticchildren sometimes face rejection from others due to their inabilityto develop social relationships correctly. However, peers couldinstill the appropriate social behavior when they interact with them,and this occurs through modeling, social reinforcement, and theplayful context (Schopler and Mesibov 201). Separating autisticchildren from their peers reinforces the inappropriate behaviors thatmight prevent positive social interactions and lead to rejection.Including autistic children in the mainstream classrooms also createsa demanding environment that motivates and encourages them to improvetheir behaviors so that they can be similar to their peers (Allen andCowdery 19). As a result, these children would improve their academicperformance and social development through their inclusion in regularclassrooms.
Teachingautistic children in the mainstream classes make them feel like theyare part of the community considering that they also need exposure torole models outside the unique classrooms. On the contrary,separating children who have autism from their peers in theeducational setting results in misunderstanding, as well asrejection. Consequently, the autistic children might fail to developsocial relationships with healthy kids since they might feel thatthey cannot fit in the standard settings. By including them in thetypical classrooms, the growth of their emotional and socialbehaviors improves significantly as compared to when they areseparated from their peers.
Allen,Eileen, and Cowdery, Glynnis. TheExceptional Child: Inclusion in Early Childhood Education.Cengage Learning. 2011.
Gupta,Sarika Henninger, William, and Vinh, Megan. FirstSteps to Preschool Inclusion. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company. 2014.
Schopler,Eric, and Mesibov, Gary. SocialBehavior in Autism.New York: Springer Science & Business Media. 2013.