Just as much as in schools, societal attitudes can represent a great obstacle to the inclusion of disabled people in the community (Forest, 1991)3. The societal attitude of the ‘normal’ people towards disabled people has been characterised by confusion, ambiguity and a modicum of good will. It therefore comes as no surprise that, mainstream pupils exhibit an ambiguity, not dissimilar to their elders, in regard to their few disabled colleagues in school (Lewis, 1995)4.
Researchers and educators have developed legal, educational, ethical and psychological arguments to support the inclusion of children with disabilities into mainstream schooling. However, for the successful integration of these students into the mainstream, there needs to be a total reappraisal of the existing educational system. This would include changes in organisational structures, curriculum and teaching methodology (Meijer, 1994)5. For this system to become a success would need the wholehearted support and integration of all teachers (Michael Shevlin, 2000). Having understood the basic idea of what is necessary to the inclusion of special educational needs in schools for introducing students with learning difficulties, the next logical step would be to understand what this term ‘Special educational needs’ mean in the context of this paper.
Disability, difficulty in learning, learning difficulty and special educational needs, may seem a lot similar, but they are quite different in their literal sense. Special Educational Needs under the Education Act of 1996 states that ‘a child is in need of special educational needs if he/she has a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for that student (Section 312). Learning Difficulty is attributed to students with:
Greater difficulty in learning than other children of his/her age
Has a disability which prevents him/her from making use of facilities that is provided to children of their age in school (Section 312 (2)) of the Education Act.
(Michael Farrell, Ch.1, p.11-12, 2003)
2.0 Executive Summary
Disabilities are a curse on society. Disabilities can be physical, mental, or social. The perspectives and social relationships of young children, including gender bias, the relationship between racism and education, and racism and identity in school and curriculum are social barriers that must be addressed in inclusive policies. These social cancers must be removed from schools to make inclusive education a success. Such discrimination of disabled and under-privileged children can lead to depression. Mental disorders can play havoc with children at a young age. Language is also a barrier for children to mix and learn with other children. Physically challenged children also face the embarrassment of being recognised as