Developing universally accessible learning environments : perceived barriers to integration and inclusion of students with disabilities in a southeast Washington state school district
Inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classroom environments is highly important to the academic and social success of all students, with and without disabilities. However, many school systems across the United States have experienced difficulties in the implementation of comprehensive classroom inclusion. In one southeast Washington state school district, only a small portion of students with disabilities spend the vast majority of their school days learning alongside their non-disabled peers. This study interviewed 21 parents, students, teachers, and other school staff associated with the district of focus to investigate perceived barriers to integration and inclusion of students with disabilities. Across the board, respondents expressed that to raise levels of integration, efforts should focus on improving relationships between families and schools, increasing widespread awareness of disability, and providing further support to teachers to effectively enact inclusion. These findings indicate a need for students, families, schools, and the greater community to collaboratively invest in established best practices on developing accessible learning environments for all students.
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