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The concept inclusive education has been around for many years and raises different views.

Before discussing inclusion of special needs students in the classroom, it is important to discuss

the meaning of inclusive education. Cologon (2015) illustrates that inclusive education is the

method of insuring that all students are involved in class without isolation. According to

Loreman, Deppler and Harvey (2011), inclusion is not being demonstrated in classrooms as

there are students continuously being segregated and are not being treated equally in

classrooms. This essay will focus on how legislation has made an impact on how students are

being treated in the classroom ensuring equal opportunity for special needs kids particularly

students with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Such legislation includes the Disability

Standards for education, 2005 and the Disability Discrimination Act, 1992. This essay will

establish teaching strategies that can be used in the classroom that focus on teacher attitudes,

adjustments and accommodations that can be made to examine appropriate outcomes and

collaboration with stakeholders such as parents, caregivers and support teachers.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental condition that hinders one’s ability to

communicate and manage their behaviour specifically when interacting with others (Akanksha,

Sahil, Premjeet & Bhawna 2002). Students with autism are socially disadvantaged and have

repetitive interests and actions. Regardless of students’ abilities to function in class, it is

essential that all students are treated equally and fairly without discrimination. Teachers need

to incorporate methods of teaching and learning allowing the students to gain the best possible

results regardless of the issues they face. In saying so teachers must create an inclusive setting

for their students targeting the diverse needs of their students ensuring a supportive

environment particularly for students with Autism spectrum disorder. As a future educator

specifically in PDHPE, teachers need to ensure they understand how to incorporate teaching

methods for their students with plan to achieve desired goals ensuring that students with ASD

can achieve these same goals specifically in practical lessons.


There are many policies and legislations that have been put in practice to ensure students with

disabilities have equal opportunity in education however this was not evident until the 1970’s.

Although the 1872 Education Act meant that all students had to be enrolled into education

systems, the act was modified in 1874 ensuring students with disabilities were excluded from

education. This was primarily because a teacher’s income was based on their student’s success

meaning that if students were not achieving exceptional results then the teachers would not get

paid. This meant that the exclusion of students with disabilities was primarily evident

throughout the education system causing separation between students and teachers. Up until

the 1970s, students with disabilities were often placed in separate schools to the other students

and the results were ecstatic. This segregation caused fundamental problems for teachers as

students were often categorised and affected them mentally. This further enhanced students’

problems as they were already facing as they are being placed in the same classrooms as their

fellow students who are facing the same issues causing distress. In 1992, the Disability

Discrimination Act and in 2005 the Disability Standards for Education were developed

ensuring students are being treated fairly in schools regardless of the problems they are facing.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 ensures the rights of people with disabilities creating

a supportive environment for students. Discrimination can be defined as treating a person in a

very unjust way due to a particular reason (Ruddock, 2005). Disability is defined very general

in the Disability Discrimination Act but essentially identifies that any student who is mentally,

physically, intellectually, sensory and neurologically disturbed can be classified as disabled

insuring that all students receive an equal opportunity in the classroom (Basser, Lee Ann, and

Jones 2011). The Disability Discrimination Act permits students to have a voice allowing them

to speak their mind and forward any issues that they have to authority. By doing so, you create

a comfortable setting for students where they know that they are being protected from any form

of discrimination ensuring they are receiving the best possible results. The Act does not only
protect students in schools but also protects anyone who is suffering from a disability, meaning

that they have equal opportunity at employment, access to services and public places as well

as purchasing properties. The Disability Standards for Education Act 2005 was created in order

to clarify the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. In saying so, it is evident

that both these acts were put into practice to ensure the safety of their students with reasonable

adjustments to the system. It is important that teachers understand these legislations in order to

create a positive working environment for all their students. Students have the right to be treated

equally, so therefore it is essential that programs are developed in order to ensure that students

are receiving equal treatment amongst each other.

It is crucial as an educator to develop personal and professional skills to enable positive and

successful teaching and learning outcomes of all students, with and without ASD. There are

different aspects to teaching and learning practices to achieve professional competence. This

includes: teacher attitudes, adjustments and accommodations, differentiation, selection of

appropriate outcomes and collaboration with particular stakeholders (that is, support teachers,

parents or caregivers). A teacher’s attitude can have a significant impact on students’

approaches to learning. Depending on an educators’ style and approach to teaching, the use of

assertive communication methods rather than passive-aggressive, can ensure that students will

retaliate in a positive manner (Van Reusen, Shoho & Barker, 2000). This is evident, when

dealing with students with ASD, as structure and rules are being set into place that allows a

consistency in teaching and learning environments. Depending on the attitude of an educator,

this can have a fundamental influence on the inclusion of students with or without ASD.

Loreman, Sharma & Forlin (2013) demonstrates how schools are often undermined by the

attitudes of the community of their perspectives of inclusion that can affect students’ education

either positively or negatively. This can affect the way teachers and schools perceive what is

important in regard to resource allocation and what students they should focus on. “When
teachers are adequately trained, have access to appropriate resources and support and have a

positive attitude towards including students with disability within their classrooms, there are

many good practices which become evident” (Boyle et al., 2011 p. 75).

It is imperative that adjustments and accommodations to teaching and learning practices are

effectively incorporated to ensure enhanced academic levels for all students, with and without

ASD. This can be developed through group activities where students with Autism Spectrum

Disorder are placed within the same group as students without any learning difficulties or

disabilities. By separating the students into groups, you allow them to form relationships

between each other creating a supportive environment for learning. By doing so, it allows the

students to take ownership of the task at hand and collaborate their ideas in order to achieve

the best academic results. It is important for teachers to understand their students in order to

provide the best possible accommodations. An example of this is to recognise which students

have ASD or any other disability and seat them towards the front of the classroom to ensure

that they are not distracting their peers and allows them to focus on the teacher. By developing

a structure for the class you create a method of teaching and learning as students know the

expectations for each lesson. In doing so, a teacher can create strategies that suit the class in

order to ensure maximal learning benefits. For example, the teacher can set out a task which

will require students to develop an electrical circuit in their science class. The students who are

capable of creating an electrical circuit can continue with the activity whereas the teacher may

decide to set out questions for the students suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

which essentially have the same results and achieve the same outcomes. This strategy can be

useful as the students suffering from ASD are learning to the best of their ability and are

receiving the same results as their peers.

Differentiation is another key element in education that should be paid great attention to, in

order to ensure that students are able to understand and learn content through different methods
of teaching. Students learn in different ways and it is important to recognise this when adjusting

and accommodating learning resources. Examples of different types of learning include spatial

(visual), Aural (auditory), linguistic (verbal) and kinaesthetic (physical) Mitchell, (2007).

Recognising students different learning capabilities and implementing differentiation of

teaching and learning can increase student’s interactions and engagement. Differentiation can

be used in many different settings for example in a practical lesson in PDHPE, modifications

can be made to ensure that all students are participating in games. An example of a modified

soccer game would entail a change in the size of the field, rules and point systems. This can be

utilised in a game whereby students must all complete a successful pass to each other on the

same team before being awarded a point. If the game is too difficult you can then have a student

on each side of the field as neutral players meaning that when they receive the ball they cannot

be approached by any players allowing them to pass the ball without pressure so they can focus

on the delivery off the pass rather than force it. In saying so, students suffering from disabilities

can benefit from the game as they are involved in the game and are contributing to the rules

and results allowing them to feel a sense of satisfaction and involvement (Loreman, Deppeler,

Harvey, 2011).

Collaboration is the idea where two or more people coexist in order to achieve a mutual goal.

With regard to students with or without disabilities, collaboration can be a vital tool to enhance

students’ development throughout their schooling years. Collaboration with the community

will allow students to address the issues that they are facing within school grounds. Such issues

could be at a social level where students do not have the confidence to approach and speak to

each other which may cause them to feel neglected. Collaboration with parents and caregivers

can have a positive impact on students’ academic results through many strategies. A strategy

that can be used to enhance students’ learning is to give the parents the option to attend their

child’s classes in an attempt to understand where they need improving and assist the teacher
with the lesson which will also allow the parent to develop strategies to use at home to assist

their child’s learning. The use of collaboration can be an essential tool in the school setting as

it will allow students with disabilities to have a different view on school and could affect their

progression in a positive matter.

In conclusion, it is evident that teaching strategies need to be implemented in order to cater for

students with additional needs. The use of accommodation and differentiation can be helpful

in the classroom as it allows the teacher to develop strategies to enhance students’ learning.

The use of collaboration allows support teachers and caregivers to understand where the student

may need additional help in order to achieve maximal academic results. By understanding

legislation, teachers and students are able to understand their limits and obligations that are

required of them ensuring a safe and supportive environment for all.


References

Akanksha, M., Sahil, K., Premjeet, S., & Bhawna, K. (2011). Autism spectrum disorders

(ASD). International Journal of Research in Ayurveda & Pharmacy, 2(5), 1541-1546.

Basser, Lee Ann, and Melinda Jones. "The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth): a three-

dimensional approach to operationalising human rights." Melb. UL Rev. 26 (2002):

254.

Boyle, C., Scriven, B., Durning, S., & Downes, C. (2011). Facilitating the learning of all

students: the ‘professional positive’ of inclusive practice in Australian primary

schools. Support for Learning, 26(2), 72-78. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9604.2011.01480.x

Cologon, K. (2015). Inclusive education means all children are included in every way, not

just in theory.

Loreman, T., Deppeler, J., & Harvey, D. (2011). Inclusive education: supporting diversity in

the classroom (2nd ed.). Crows Nest, Austalia: Allen & Unwin.

Loreman, T., Sharma, U., & Forlin, C. (2013). Do pre-service teachers feel ready to teach in

inclusive classrooms? A four country study of teaching self-efficacy. AJTE, 38(1).

doi:10.14221/ajte.2013v38n1.10

Mitchell, D. (2007). What really works in special and inclusive education: Using evidence-

based teaching strategies. Routledge.

Ruddock, P. H. I. L. I. P. (2005). Disability standards for education 2005.

Van Reusen, A. K., Shoho, A. R., & Barker, K. S. (2000). High school teacher attitudes

toward inclusion. The High School Journal, 84(2), 7-20.