Inclusion Series- Promoting Positive Social Interactions in an Inclusion Setting for Students with Learning Disabilities

Introduction

If you are working or going to work as either a general education or special education teacher in an inclusion classroom you will be involved a myriad of positive and challenging experiences. None of these will be more rewarding than helping children with special needs develop positive social interactions with their peers.

One of the components of successful of inclusion is the degree to which the student with a disability feels a part of the general education classroom. The feeling of belonging positively affects the student s self-image and self-esteem, motivation to achieve, speed of adjustment to the larger classroom and new demands, general behavior, and general level of achievement. The impact of the new student on the general classroom is a major consideration for inclusion planners. Fostering positive social relationships between students with disabilities and their peers requires the preparation of nondisabled peers in the classroom so that they understand the needs of their new classmates. Teachers may use many strategies to help the student achieve a sense of belonging to the class and school.

One of the most critical things an inclusion classroom teacher must do is establish and maintain a positive and supportive classroom atmosphere. Students are more likely to follow directions, work hard, and exhibit positive classroom behavior when they feel wanted and appreciated by the teacher. This may be especially true of particularly difficult students, who may not trust adults, and who may feel that most teachers are out to get them.

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