Inclusion: Universal Issues for Early Childhood Intervention

Düzenleyen: Prof. Dr. Rune SIMEONSSON

Since the latter part of the 20th century, the history of special education and early childhood intervention (ECI) has recognized that children at risk and with disabilities have a right for integration in settings with peers without disabilities. That right has been codified in the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, in a number of international declarations, and in national legislation. Over time, implementation of that right has been expressed in a range of policies and programs described in terms of mainstreaming, integration and inclusion. Although there is a growing literature on inclusion, it has been general in nature covering descriptions of practice and studies focused on perceptions of roles and practices of teachers and the kind of children to be served in inclusive settings. There is very little research investigating dimensions of the inclusive environments or characteristics of children in inclusive settings.  Of particular concern is the lack of studies documenting implementation of inclusion and its effectiveness as intervention policy. With the expansion of ECI, there is a need to examine issues related to inclusion that are universal across countries, as a policy of intervention to address the child’s rights to access environments for integration and participation with peers. To that end, this presentation will provide an overview of universal issues facing the implementation of inclusive policy. Specifically, these universal issues will be defined by findings from practice and research on inclusion using the following questions as a framework for review: 1. What defines inclusive policy? 2. What are the assumptions forming the basis for inclusive policy? 3. What are elements of inclusive environments? 4. Who are included children? 5. How has inclusive policy been implemented? 6. What evidence is there for the effectiveness of inclusion? 7. What are priorities for advancing inclusion as a universal policy for intervention and education of children at risk and with disabilities?