Defining Integration

by Anne Malatchi

Integration DOES mean:
  • Educating all children with disabilities in regular schools.
  • Providing related services within the regular school.
  • Supporting regular teachers and administrators.
  • Having students with disabilities follow the same schedules as other children.
  • Involving students with disabilities in as many academic classes and extracurricular activities as possible, including music, gym, field trips, assemblies, and graduation exercises.
  • Arranging for students with disabilities to use the school cafetenia, library, playground, and other facilities at the same time as other students.
  • Encouraging helper and buddy relationships between typical students and those with disabilities.
  • Teaching all children to understand and accept human differences.
  • Including parents as part of the team.
Integration DOES NOT mean:
  • Dumping students with disabilities into regular classrooms without preparation and supports.
  • Locating special education classes in separate wings at a regular school.
  • Grouping students with a wide range of disabilities and needs in the same program.
  • Ignoring children's individual needs.
  • Exposing children to unnecessary hazards or risks.
  • Placing unreasonable demands on teachers and administrators.
  • Ignoring parents' concerns.
  • Isolating students with disabilities in regular schools.
  • Placing older students with disabilities at schools for younger children.
  • Maintaining separate schedules for special education students and regular education student

Reprinted with permission: The Collaborator, a publication of theWilliam and Mary Resource/Collaborative Teaching Masters in Education Program at the College of William and Mary, Vol.4, (3), Winter 1995.