Many books have been written about child development, on the one hand, and about special educational needs, on the other. There have also been more recent publications that focus on inclusive education. These, however, have tended to do so from the perspective of those learners previously excluded.
The central tenet of inclusive education is that it is concerned with the education of all learners within one system capable of accommodating diversity. An inclusive school is a place where every learner belongs, is accepted, and has his or her educational needs met.
This implies that in our approach to inclusive education we need to take into account both what is known about children generally and, at the same time, what is known about children experiencing barriers to learning – particularly those learners with disabilities. Educators in mainstream classrooms can learn a great deal from the special education literature. On the other hand, a focus on barriers to learning should not cause us to overlook the many ways in which all children are similar.
This book attempts to represent the integration that we believe is necessary in the minds of educators and in classrooms. Part One provides an overview on new ways of thinking about learner development and education support in inclusive education. Part Two presents general approaches to child and adolescent development. Part Three discusses in detail specific disabilities, but is to be read in conjunction with Part Two and the framing assumptions of Part One.
Clear, accessible and informative, and provided with illuminating case histories, these chapters offer valuable insights to both mainstream and special education teachers concerned about the current move towards inclusive education.