A Proven Model for Learning
Early childhood inclusion education as practiced at Coralwood School is a research-based model that uses proven established concepts while maintaining a close eye on new developments in the field. While some research questions in early inclusion education remain unsettled, important progress has been made on several fronts:
With respect to early intervention:
Considerable research--quantitative and qualitative--shows that early intervention increases the developmental and educational gains of special needs children, and reaps long term benefits for society. (Fewell & Oelwein 1990). Many studies and literature reviews report the advantages of starting as early as birth or soon after the diagnosis of a disability or a high-risk factor (Cooper 1981, Garland, Stone, Swanson & Woodruff 1981; Maisto & German 1979; Strain, Young & Horowitz 1981).
Research also indicates that both disadvantaged and gifted preschool-aged children benefit from early intervention (Berrueta-Clement, Schweinhart, Barnett, Epstein, Weikart 1984).
Further, the available data show that early intervention is cost effective (Schweinhart & Weikart 1980, Wood 1981, Snider, Sullivan & Manning 1974, McNulty, Smith, & Soper 1983)
With respect to inclusive settings:
Research shows that children with disabilities in integrated classes demonstrate higher levels of social play, more appropriate social interactions, and are more likely to initiate interactions with peers than children in self-contained special ed preschool classes (Lamorey & Bricker 1993; Peck, Odom & Bricker 1993).
Research also indicates that children with disabilities in integrated classes make gains in language, cognitive, and motor development that are comparable to their peers in self-contained classes. (Buysse & Bailey 1993, Lamorey & Bricker 1993, Odom & McEvoy 1988, Peck & Cooke 1983)
Meta-analyses that review multiple studies confirm a small to moderate beneficial effect of inclusion education on the academic and social outcome of special needs students. (Carlberg, C. and Kavale, K. 1980; Baker, E.T., Wang, M.C., and Walberg, H.J., 1994-95).
With respect to socialization:
There is also evidence that when teachers promote social integration, children with disabilities may make greater gains on standardized measures of language and social competence (Jenkins, Odom & Speltz 1989)
Evidence also suggests that enrollment in inclusive programs does not have deleterious effects for typically developing children (Odom, DeKlyen & Jenkins 1984)
Several studies suggest that children without disabilities benefit from integrated classes, and their developmental gains are at least equivalent to those made by peers in non-integrated programs (Odom & McEvoy 1988).
Families of children with and without disabilities enrolled in inclusion settings generally have positive attitudes toward inclusion (Bailey & Winton 1987, Guralnick 1994; Peck, Carlson & Helmstetter 1992).
Parents and teachers also report that typically developing students in integrated settings display less prejudice and fewer stereotypes, and are more responsive and helpful to others, than are children in other settings (Peck et al. 1992). Children display increased sensitivity and reduced fear of differences accompanied by greater comfort and awareness (Green & Stoneman 1989, Peck et al., 1992, Reichart et al 1989).
Additional reported benefits include development of warm and caring friendships (Bogdan and Taylor, 1989), growth in social cognition (Murray-Seegert,1989), as well as improvement in self-concept of non-disabled students (Peck et. al., 1992), often accompanied by development of personal principles and ability to assume an advocacy role toward their peers and friends with disabilities.
Bailey, D. B., & Winton, P. (1987). Stability and change in parents' expectations about mainstreaming. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 7(1),
73-88. Baker, E.T., Wang, M.C., and Walberg, H.J. "The Effects of Inclusion on Learning."Educational Leadership (1994-1995): 33-35.
Berrueta-Clement, J. R., and others. Changed Lives: The Effects Of The Perry Preschool Project On Youths Through Age 19. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, 1984.
Buysse, V., & Bailey, D. B. (1993). Behavioral and developmental outcomes in young children with disabilities in integrated and segregated settings:
A review of comparative studies. Journal of Special Education, 26, 434-461.
Carlberg, C., and Kavale, K. "The Efficacy of Special Versus Regular Class Placement for Exceptional Children: A Meta-Analysis." The Journal of Special Education (1980): 295-305.
Cooper, J. H. An Early Childhood Special Education Primer. Chapel Hill, NC: Technical Assistance Development System (TADS), 1981.
Fewell, R.R. & P.L. Oelwein (1990) The Relationship Between Time in Integrated Environments and Developmental Gains in Young Children With Special Needs. Topics in Early Childhood Education.
Garland, C., N. W. Stone, J. Swanson, and G. Woodruff, eds. Early Intervention For Children With Special Needs And Their Families: Findings And Recommendations. Westar Series Paper No. 11. Seattle, WA: University of Washington, 1981.
Green, A. L., & Stoneman, Z. (1989). Attitudes of mothers and fathers of nonhandicapped children. Journal of Early Intervention, 13, 6-13.
Guralnick, M. J (1994). Mother's perceptions of the benefits and drawbacks of early childhood mainstreaming. Journal of Early Intervention, 18, 168-183.
Jenkins, J. R., Odom, S. L., & Speltz, M. L. (1989). Effects of social integration on preschool children with handicaps. Exceptional Children, 55, 420-428.
Lamorey, S., & Bricker, D. D. (1993). Integrated programs: Effects on young children and their parents. In C. Peck, S. Odom, & D. Bricker (Eds.), Integrating young children with disabilities into community-based programs: From research to implementation (pp. 249-269). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
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Psychology 4 (1979): 409-419.
McNulty, B., D. B. Smith, and E. W. Soper. Effectiveness Of Early Special Education For Handicapped Children. Colorado Department of Education, 1983.
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Odom, S.L. and M. McEvoy. (1988). Integration of Young Children with Handicaps and Normally Developing Children. In S. Odom and M. Karnes, Eds. Early Intervention For Infants And Children With Handicaps: An Empirical Base 241-248. Baltimore: Brookes.
Peck, C. A., & Cooke, T. P. (1983). Benefits of mainstreaming at the early childhood level: How much can we expect? Analysis and Intervention in Developmental Disabilities, 3, 1-22.
Peck, C.A., P. Carlson, and E. Helmstetter. (1992). Parent and Teacher Perceptions of Outcomes for Typically Developing Children Enrolled in Integrated Early Childhood Programs: A Statewide Study. Journal Of Early Intervention.
Peck, C.A., S.L. Odom, and D.D. Bricker. (Eds.). (1993). Integrating Young Children With Disabilities Into Community Programs. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.
Reichart, D. C., Lynch, E. C., Anderson, B. C. Svobodney, L. A., DiCola, J. M., & Mercur, M. G. (1989). Parental perspectives of integrated preschool opportunities for children with handicaps and children without handicaps. Journal of Early Intervention, 1: 6-13.
Schweinhart, L. J., and D. P. Weikart. Young Children Grow UP: The Effects Of The Perry Preschool Program On Youths Through AGe 19. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. 1980.
Snider, J., W. Sullivan, and D. Manning. "Industrial Engineering Participation in a Special Education Program." Tennessee Engineer 1 (1974): 21-23.
Strain, P. S., C. C. Young, and J. Horowitz. "Generalized Behavior Change During Oppositional Child Training: An Examination of Child and Family Demographic Variables." Behavior Modification 1 (1981): 15-26.
Wood, M. E. "Costs of Intervention Programs." In C. Garland and others, eds., Early Intervention For Children With Special Needs And Their Families: Findings And Recommendations. Westar Series Paper No. 11. Seattle, WA: University of Washington, 1981.