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Pros and Cons of Mainstreaming Kids with Disabilities

August 08, 2014

Resources-for-Special-Needs-ClassroomsHave you ever wondered if you should mainstream your child with disabilities?

If you’ve not heard the term “mainstreaming”, it is in reference to integrating a child with disabilities into a classroom of able-bodied students. In other words, “mainstreaming” a child with disabilities is providing him or her with a mainstream education (as opposed to a special needs educational program).

Here is another excellent definition for mainstreaming: “Mainstreaming is an educational method that includes many different kinds of learners in the same classroom, instead of separating students according to their learning abilities.” Are you familiar with mainstreaming?

The benefits of mainstreaming

Why should you mainstream your child with disabilities into a non-special needs classroom? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Focus is on learning and interacting, not on disability
  • Encourages social inclusion
  • Low cost

Positive social behavior is often learned when a special needs child must interact with peers

The drawbacks of mainstreaming

While a mainstream education can hold many benefits for students with disabilities, it also holds some drawbacks, the main one being less personalized attention from teachers. Since a mainstream classroom isn’t necessarily designed for students with special needs, individuals with disabilities may not receive all they need educationally.

Are you deliberating about mainstreaming your child with disabilities? If yes, make a list of the pros and cons of mainstreaming. Is your list of pros bigger than your list of cons, or vice versa? Let the answer to that question guide you into your ultimate decision.

How can parents make sure students with disabilities are getting what they need in a mainstream education?

Have you chosen to mainstream your child with disabilities? If so, there are ways you as a parent can ensure your child with disabilities gets what he or she really needs from a mainstream education. Here are a few tips:

  • Strive for clear communication between yourself and your child’s teachers
  • Communicate with your child’s teachers on a regular basis
  • Voice your concerns about your child without hesitation
  • Develop good relationships with school staff

What benefits and drawbacks do you know to be true of mainstreaming? How do you think mainstreaming a special needs child’s education could benefit him or her socially?

Does your child with disabilities receive a mainstream education? Leave a comment on this blog post and let us know if mainstreaming is proving beneficial to him or her. Thank you for your feedback!


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