The Importance Of Special Education

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In order to examine the proposed view that students with special education needs should be taught in specialised environments, it is important to establish what the term special education needs means.

According to the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act (2004, p.6), the term special education needs means
“A restriction in the capacity of the person to participate in and benefit from education on account of an enduring physical, sensory, mental health or learning disability, or any other condition which results in a person learning differently from a person without that condition”.

Fox (2005, p.205) elucidates that children with special educational needs have “congenital or acquired impairments, physical, mental or both,
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This is a result of the concept of inclusion growing out of mainstreaming and shares many of its philosophical goals (Salend, 2001).

There are many arguments for the inclusion of students with special educational needs in mainstream classrooms. In order to embrace inclusion within the classroom, schools must work in proactive ways to accept students with diverse needs and eliminate barriers to enable full participation (UNESCO, 2012). Green (1991) argues that students with specific learning needs should be educated through regular school and curriculum with appropriate support. Further to this he explains that only if a student has a particular need that cannot be met by the school, should the student be educated in a specialised environment.

Although the segregation of students with special education needs into specialised learning environments has been adopted for many years, many educators and analysts have been questioning its effectiveness. These educators suggest that in order to enhance students with special education needs learning experiences they should be included into mainstream schools (Wang,
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It outlines the rights of the parents to send their children to a school of their choice having regard to the rights of the patron and the effective and efficient use of resources. Parents and schools should work co-operatively to achieve what is best for the child. As outlined by Wang (2009) parents tend to interfere with the decision-making process and school provision of special needs students where it should be of the duty of mainstream teachers.
Researchers claim that segregated programmes are detrimental to students with disabilities and do not meet the original goals for special education (Carlberg & Kavale, 1980 and Wang et al., 1995). Studies confirm that there is a small to moderate beneficial effect of inclusive education on the academic and social outcomes of special needs students (Katz & Mirenda,

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