Integration vs. Inclusion

Are you familiar with the difference between integration and inclusion when it comes to the classroom environment? The trend in education today is moving away from integration and toward inclusion. While both approaches aim to bring students with disabilities into the mainstream classroom, one system expects students to adapt to the pre-existing structure, while the other ensures the existing education system will adapt to each student.

An integrated classroom is a setting where students with disabilities learn alongside peers without disabilities. Extra supports may be implemented to help them adapt to the regular curriculum, and sometimes separate special education programs are in place within the classroom or through pull-out services. In theory, integration is a positive approach that seeks to help students with disabilities be part of the larger group. In practicality, the differences in the way all people learn can make this system of education less effective overall.

Inclusion is the actual merging of special education and regular education with the belief that all children are different, will learn differently, and should have full access to the same curriculum. Students with disabilities are not expected to adjust to a fixed education structure. Rather the structure is adjusted so that everyone’s learning styles can be met. Barriers to learning are removed to allow each student to participate fully in the curriculum and feel equally valued. The end result is that all students with and without disabilities benefit.

Following guidelines for accessibility makes an inclusive classroom possible. Bridgeway Education can support you in your transition to an accessible curriculum. Contact us for a free accessibility evaluation of a sample of your content, or sign up for The Accessibility Imperative professional development course to learn about creating accessible learning experiences for all students.