The adaptation process of students with disabilities in inclusive schools

Адам және қоғам
The adaptation process of students with disabilities in inclusive schools

Мақала авторы: Бақтыгулова Інжу
Жұмыс орны: "НАЗАРБАЕВ ЗИЯТКЕРЛІК МЕКТЕПТЕРІ" ДЕРБЕС БІЛІМ БЕРУ ҰЙЫМЫНЫҢ АҚТӨБЕ ҚАЛАСЫНДАҒЫ "ФИЗИКА-МАТЕМАТИКАЛЫҚ БАҒЫТЫНДАҒЫ НАЗАРБАЕВ ЗИЯТКЕРЛІК МЕКТЕБІ" ФИЛИАЛЫ
Лауазымы: Оқушы
Порталға жариялану мерзімі: 15.05.2020


Abstract

The paper describes the situation of adaptation of special students in Kazakhstan and the main purpose of it is to determine the influence of inclusive education to the process of adaptation of the students with disabilities to their environment, which requires the help of teachers and schools. In this paper a list of different methods and activities suggested by Ph.D. to help students improve their academic performance for educators’ and teachers’ use, are included. The required data for this research was collected in about 4 weeks by both primary and secondary sources and they both were important equally, and searching for data in the internet was very helpful. For Kazakh people inclusive education and its main roles in society are something new, therefore, it was decided to have a look at another available sources which are presented in context part. After analyzing the results of the survey, inclusive education system was considered as the main factor that has a positive influence in helping to special students with their adaptation into society by 90% of respondents. Also, equality and helping those who in need were said to be the best way of improving their confidence and attendance in social life by 85 people.

Key words: Inclusive education; adaptation; special students; adaptation of special students; students with disabilities in society; adaptation of the students with disabilities to society.

Introduction

Adaptation is a natural process that relates to every living organism and human beings are not an exclusion Students with disabilities have always been suffering from bullying and not being accepted by their society fully, even though it is not their fault that they somehow differ from others. Such kinds of discriminations and improbity cannot let us make our society a fair place and counteracts human values. To get rid of them it is important to start with the classrooms, where special and regular students study together — in inclusive schools. Having an appropriate adaptations and accommodations is the key to a success in the classroom for many students with disabilities and for many without (NICHCY, 2016). 

In my case, I have always been concerned about making our society the safest place for everyone and any forms of discrimination are exception. However, I decided to choose this topic for my research when I firstly heard about an inclusive school in Aktobe from my mother, where she works as a teacher. She mentioned the increase of bullying and discrimination after becoming an inclusive school and I wanted to find out how to help those students to be able to protect themselves and know their own rights, while adapting to new environment. 

Approximately 15% of earth’s population have some forms of disability, which cause them to experience discrimination and social exclusion. However, Tom Shakespeare,a professor from the UK’s University of East Anglia proved that despite these challenges people with disabilities can flourish in society. Disability — inclusive education can help them to get a job, to be an employer and to not be a burden (Palumno 2018). It shows how inclusive school’s role is significant in helping students with special needs adapt successfully into their new society. 

Nowadays, this issue is considered as a quite actual problem, and even included in Sustainable Development 4 goal’s targets at eighth number, education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and providing safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning field for all (SDG). To that end, many actions were taken, for example, the World Bank and USAID have created a $3 million disability-Inclusive Education in Africa Program Trust Fund to help students with special needs afford themselves safe and effective type of education (Palumno, 2018). Therefore, making societies and people ready to accept and help special students is very important, to make it possible for everyone to live in a supportive and peaceful place. 

Context 

It’s not a secret that people are different, some are very lucky to use given opportunities by nature, while for others it’s difficult to go through some situations. Being a different one doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to have the same rights as others do. There are a lot of students with special needs, who are facing the problems of adaptation and not being able to get accepted by society as it’s part. To get rid of this issue education administration all over the world decided to add inclusive schools as a part of its system, to help students with disabilities get along with other students.  

Williams (2017) states that adaptation is one of the criteria to make education of students with or without special needs successful, by being individualized and modified, based on their personal interests and needs. Even though special approach to students is provided in special and inclusive schools, children still struggle with showing a progress and results of the efforts, that were putted on. 37% of all high school graduates with disabilities did not enter higher education (Wasielewski et al. 2005). About half of the students with special needs who enrolled into a degree program eliminate before the completion (American Youth Policy Forum and Center on Education Policy, 2002). Also, the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY), that helps kids with special needs to make their concerns be heard through providing information to communities, educators, parents, the general public and etc., confirmed that they have been getting more requests recently on how to make adaptations for students with disabilities in general and special schools, meaning that they are currently interested in this issue, and state it as a serious problem.  Therefore, there’re several suggestions to make it possible. 

First one is the use of book called “Adapting Instruction to Accommodate Students in Inclusive Settings” that will introduce us with the goals of inclusion and with the overview of the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1990 about educating students with special needs with respect. Thomas (2008) indicates the benefits and challenges of collaboration, teamwork and social experiments. To promote inclusive education teachers and trainers should be provided with flexibility and resources to be able to make students feel comfortable and relaxed, so that they could concentrate on studying process.  

Bos (2015) address adaptations and accommodations to the instructional process within the book called “Strategies for teaching students with learning and behavior problems”. The main suggestions are activities that detail the learning objectives, evaluate the efficacy of instruction and developing listener–friendly lectures. The main role of that kind of activities is to prove that adaptation of one student involves everyone, who is connected with him, so that to make it work, efforts of only one side are not enough. Parents, teachers, educators, society, friends and the student should build a complex to get an access to the pathway that will lead them to a successful educating process. 

Vaughn (2018) recommends personalizing learning with MyLab Education, an online homework, which is supposed to show progressing results of students by working with a text. The program provides educational videos, that can help special students to practice together, do tasks and get feedbacks. Getting feedbacks and being interested in studying influences an educational process the most and videos with different tables and colorful images can help them to keep focused. Visuals are considered as the most effective way to help improve memorizing and concentrating skills, so this content is in favor of it. 

Wood (2002) uses the SAALE (Systematic Approach for Adapting the Learning Environment) model of inclusion for writing the book called Adapting instruction to accommodate students in inclusive settings (3rd ed.).”. A checklist for identifying the challenges, that student may face while studying, are included in the first component of this model. Also, the author’s comprehensive list of advices for students based on their preferences and subject matter is included. This model is very convenient for those who exactly knows why they need to be educated, because it can help them to find what they are searching for, in a case of not knowing where to start. 

Many things were said to be done to establish the society as a place, where everyone is equal, however, even students with disabilities, the ones who need a help from us, still cannot think of themselves as a true part of our society. Vodd Group hold the position that socio – cultural perspectives can’t make disabilities disappear, but instead a context for abilities of children to improve in individual ways of knowing and learning might be provided by interactions in the classrooms. It proves the importance of teamwork and involvement of environment in the process of making students believe in themselves and becoming a part of their society. Therefore, inclusive schools should improve not only the study program, but also include students with disabilities in every activities and programs getting a place in school. Because the most significant stage of making adaptation possible is the way how the society interacts with special students. 

 Methods 

The required data for this research was collected in about 4 weeks by both primary and secondary sources. The first week was spent to gather information about the background of this issue, which was included to get the general view of its importance. There were not that much available sources in the internet about the adaptation of students with disabilities, also most of the available ones were outdated, so it could cause a confusion due to possible inaccuracies. Therefore, different methods of searching information were used to avoid this problem and all the sources were checked by RAVEN to raise the level of credibility and accuracy.  

The most helpful one was an OSEP’s “Ideas that work” source, which included different perspectives of philosophy doctors regarding this issue and the list of other primary sources. A range of books about disabilities in classrooms was added in this list with references to authorities. Among these primary sources the newest were selected in order to make sure that the information is not outdated and still actual. Furthermore, with the same reason only reliable sites, such as educational, governmental and organizational were used. The information included in this site was even used in the “context” and “literature review” part. 

The adaptation of students with special needs and the inclusive school’s influence level in this process can be determined by the help of public opinion, by investigating the awareness of Aktobe’s citizens with this problem, since there’re some present inclusive schools in this city. To make it possible the both qualitative and quantitative data are required, and the survey is the most suitable method to collect some quantitative data for this research. The main reasons for this decision are a good statistical significance, convenient information gathering and precise results.  

The interview and questionnaire were planned to be the part of data collecting process, however, after an analysis, they were declined. The teachers and students of inclusive schools who were going to be an interviewee, refused the researcher’s offer to answer some questions related to this issue and didn’t wanted to answer questions honestly, which could be considered as an unreliable information. The questionnaire could take too much time to print and distribute among the citizens by just walking around, also usually people don’t get the questions as serious as it is, therefore, the answers are usually not satisfying at all. Due to these listed reasons, those methods of data conduction were canceled, and only the survey was used.  

To create the questions for this survey the data from secondary sources were used, to get the answers that will show the exact results to estimate the importance of this problem. The number of questions related to the topic is 7 and the general ones consist of 2 questions about their gender and age. The main questions were made based on the information, found in secondary sources and to make choices easier, some sample answers were available to the choose. Another reason for making questions with the help of another sources, every detail about respecting each other, responsibility to our own actions and equal human rights should’ve been considered while taking a survey. To conduct this survey, its link was published in SNS of researcher, and the followers passed the survey. Also, this survey was taken through the teachers and students of inclusive schools to increase its answer’s relevance. They shared their own experience, personal ways and advices to solve this problem as fast as possible and their answers were helpful to make a conclusion and get some ideas about the final product of this project work for the researcher. 

Results 

For this research the both, primary and secondary sources were important equally, and searching for data in the internet was very helpful. For Kazakh people inclusive education and its main roles in society are something new, that’s why it was literally impossible to find any related data to this issue in Kazakh websites or even works done on this problem. Therefore, it was decided to have a look at another available sources, which were very useful and were introduced in the Context part. Since all the sources confirmed this problem as a social issue and not only special students are involved in its presence, all of actions to solve it should be done in relation to society and its members. The survey was the first step of this. 

  • The first two questions are about age and gender of respondents, and since it was sent for every follower of researcher in social networking sites and they had a chance to choose by themselves to answer or not it can show that people of what gender and what age category are most worried about this. It’s easy to see that students at age of 15-17 and people older than 18 are more concerned about this situation. 
  • The graph of second question shows that females received this survey more than males, since the difference between them is almost as twice.
  • The awareness of people about the inclusive education system was also taken into account, and it came out that 44 people out of 100 thought, that inclusive education is an education system for special students, while for other 6 it was education system for regular students. Even though 48 people did know what it is, the remaining 2 still couldn’t understand what does it mean? It shows that people still struggle even with basic knowledge about this system and its roles in society.
  • It’s thought by many that studying with regular students can affect special student’s self-esteem and confidence negatively. However, interacting with everyone, and understanding the meanings of equality and opportunities from the young ages is also important to be able to live a life without isolation from society. The number of people who agree with a second statement is 90, while for 10 the first one is preferable.
  • The level of impact of inclusive schools in helping to students with special needs to adapt into society was estimated as fully by 36 people, while 28 people in general have evaluated it as a huge impact by choosing 7-8-9 levels. For 29 people its impact seemed as 50%, who choose 4-5-6 levels. Meanwhile, 7 people thought that it doesn’t affect it at all by choosing the lower levels.
  • The discrimination of special students by regular students is unfortunately, not a new thing, that’s why it was asked, if anyone has ever faced with such kind of situations. It says that 55 people were a witness of their discrimination, and other 45 didn’t face that before. 
  • Being not ready to accept special students is selected as a main reason of their discrimination by 40 people, and stereotypes about them by 35 as well. While for 27 it’s caused by their disabilities, other 19 preferred not to answer.
  • For 49 people providing everyone with equal rights seems as a great deal of improving students’ academic performance and confidence. While for 28 involving them in activities and letting everyone participate in school life for another 28, for 36 it can be done by promoting equality and help. Nevertheless, 4 people think that it’s impossible to be done by inclusive schools.
  • The main purpose of this project was to determine the influence of inclusive education to the process of adaptation of the students with disabilities to their environment, which requires the help of teachers and school. After analyzing the results of the survey, inclusive education system was considered as the main factor that has a positive influence in helping to special students with their adaptation into society by 90% of respondents. Also, equality and helping those who in need were said to be the best way of improving their confidence and attendance in social life by 85 people. Overall, this research’s outcomes met all expectations clearly.

Conclusion 

Gathered information and answers from survey can help us to make a conclusion of this research.

1) What is the role of an education system in improving special students’ involvement into social life? 

Education system plays a big role in the formation of basement into social life for students with disabilities. Inclusive schools is an essential part of education system that can help them to get along with other members of their society and understand that they are all equal and have the same rights by involving everyone during some activities or just even by active participation in a 1oops 

2) Do people know enough about an inclusive education system and adaptation problems of students with disabilities to be able to help them? 

The awareness of this topic is what leaves much to be desired since people still cannot get the idea that inclusive education holds as its base. However, the number of inclusive schools is increasing which gives us hope that people will get to know and learn more about this system since the adaptation of students with disabilities involves also other people somehow related to them, such as parents, teachers, doctors, friends and classmates it is very important to make more people realize its significance 

3) What can inclusive schools and teachers do to make adaption of special students? 

There are several suggestions by Ph.D. to improve students’ academic performance and confidence leading to the successful process of adaptation Basically they include different activities, methods of teaching and ways to communicate with them, which seems quite logical and available for everyone to learn by themselves. Moreover, e-learning is considered as one of the most useful types of educating processes that can make it easier for students to keep up with others. If inclusive schools and teachers could implement these techniques, adaptation of students with disabilities does not seem as a time consuming problem Personally, I believe that someday we can achieve that level of society where every its member is treated equally, despite their any unique features. It is a big deal that adaptation of special students is still a problem in our society, however together we can make everything work. That is why such kind of researches and project works should motivate everyone to create our friendly and happy environment by ourselves with the help of each other, where the helping to adaptation of students with disabilities is considered as a one main part. 

References 

Bos, C.S., & Vaughn, S. (2015). Strategies for teaching students with learning and behavior problems (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. 

Palumno, S., & Shakespeare, T. (March 30, 2016). Children with disabilities can flourish in society, and   education helps them get there. Retrieved from https://blogs.worldbank.org/sustainablecities/children-disabilities-can-flourish-society-and-education-helps-them-get-there

Thomas, L. Good (2008). Inclusion—A fresh look: Practical strategies to help all students succeed, Elementary edition. Shorewood, MN: Covington Cove Publications. 

Vaughn, S., Bos, C.S., & Schumm, J.S. (2000). Teaching exceptional, diverse, and at-risk students in the general education classroom (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. 

Wasielewski, L. M. (2016). Academic Performance of Students with Disabilities in Higher Education: Insights from a Study of One Catholic College. Journal of Catholic Education, 20 (1). Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1118149.pdf 

Williams, J. (2015). Adaptations & Accommodations for Students with Disabilities. OSEP Ideas That Work. Retrieved from https://osepideasthatwork.org/node/112 

Wood, J.W. (2002). Adapting instruction to accommodate students in inclusive settings (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. Retrieved from https://www.pearson.com/us/higher-education/product/Wood-Adapting-Instruction-to-Accommodate-Students-in-Inclusive-Settings-4th-Edition/9780130910684.html 

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