Full Inclusion: Integration of Handicapped Children into Public Schools
Kramer, Stephanie Helene
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In any society, there exist individuals whose personal values, attitudes, beliefs, and morals dominate the feelings of everyone within the community. These attitudes ultimately dictate what "norms" and what "sort of people" will be able to function in the community. However, if certain people within a society view an individual as a deviant member, due to his physical or mental abnormalities, other citizens may also develop a negative attitude towards that person. Even in Ancient Civilizations, an individual, who had a certain handicap, was shunned by his fellow community members. People believed that his abnormality was an evil cast upon that person from the Gods. Therefore, citizens isolated themselves from this individual. As time progressed, these disabled people were locked away into institutes and subsequently were evaluated and tested on by doctors. Although times have changed, there still exist a "fear" among individuals within a society towards disabled people. When my cousin, Christine, was diagnosed as severely retarded, I noticed immediately the "fear" which existed in individuals towards handicapped children and adults. It was evident not only when we walked in public places and people would stare, but more importantly when my Aunt decided to enroll Chrissy into a public school. Therefore, after watching her battle with administrators, teachers, and parents I became interested in the whole full inclusion process. I wanted to learn about the struggle and pains other parents have to endure when developing an inclusion program for their child. Subsequently, this paper will discuss the process by which parents must adhere to when developing an inclusion program for their child. Then, I will informally discuss the struggle my Aunt went through after discovering her child was severely handicapped.