As a first grade teacher, I find it so infuriating that parents of students with special needs don't want them to get help outside the classroom. Little kids love receiving one-on-one help. Why are parents like that?


As a teacher myself and as the mother of a son with autism, I share your frustration. With increasing numbers of kids with special needs (cognitive, behavioral, and/or emotional) and fewer resources to help them, school districts have resorted to full inclusion. Administrators do their best to convince parents that students leaving the regular classroom for small group instruction or one-on-one tutoring is a bad thing that stigmatizes them. Yet, you and I as educators of young children, know that this is patently false.

Those of us who teach in the primary grades know how much our students love it when they leave class for one-on-one or small group instruction. What little kid wouldn't want to leave a group of 32 to get special attention in a smaller setting? It's not a stigma to them; it's a pure delight. Moreover, with their pliable brains, young children are more likely to reap the benefits from special help than older ones.

Both my sons left their classrooms bi-weekly for speech therapy throughout their elementary school years. They played games with the speech therapist, worked on the computer, earned stickers, and had a blast. Moreover, they made enormous progress that could never have happened in the regular classroom. They got help from someone with an expertise that their classroom teacher lacked. They got crucial help with both articulation and social communication.

While we're discouraged from saying anything negative about full inclusion, I strongly believe teachers should do so. We need to let parents know its limitations and educate them about the benefits of small group direct instruction. We must communicate with them how academic struggles, when not addressed in a smaller setting, often evolve into behavioral and emotional issues as well.

I see how full inclusion is wearing down good teachers with some leaving their jobs. I would never recommend that a young person enter the profession today because of full inclusion. If you have students who are acting out or are struggling academically, there's little help for them or for you as their teacher. It's a sink or swim situation for both.

You may want to read my article entitled: “What Parents Need to Know About Early Intervention Services.” Thanks for your question!

Updated on January 28, 2020

Original Article:

What Is Full Inclusion and How Is It Damaging Our Public Schools?
By McKenna Meyers

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