INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EARLY CHILDHOOD SPECIAL EDUCATION, cilt.3, ss.38-65, 2011 (Diğer Kurumların Hakemli Dergileri)
Kaynaştırma uygulanan sınıflarda akran ilişkilerinin incelenmesi amacıyla yapılan bu çalışmada; tam zamanlı kaynaştırmaya devam eden dört Down sendromlu çocuk ve sınıflarındaki akranları örnekleme alınmıştır. Yapılandırılmamış gözlemler çocukların öğretmen tarafından en az yönlendirildiği serbest zaman etkinlikleri esnasında yapılmıştır. Gözlemler her sınıfta beşer gün yaklaşık 40?ar dakika sürmüştür. Sonuç olarak; yetersizlik gösteren çocuk ile akranları arasında olumlu sosyal iletişim davranışları olumsuz sosyal iletişim davranışlarından daha fazla gözlenmiştir. Yetersizlik gösteren çocuklar oyuna alınmama, yetersiz görülme, eleştirilme ve materyali paylaşamama davranışlarının ardından sinirlenme, kızma davranışlarını sergilemişlerdir. Normal gelişim gösteren çocuklar ise yetersizlik gösteren çocuğun olumsuz davranışlarına çoğunlukla tepkisiz kalmışlardır. Normal gelişim gösteren çocukların, yetersizlik gösteren çocuğu yeterli buldukları her etkinliğe kabul ettikleri ve yardımlaştıkları fakat yapamayacağını düşündükleri etkinliklere katılmasını istemedikleri gözlenmiştir.
Anahtar Sözcükler: Kaynaştırma, okulöncesi, akran ilişkileri, Down sendromu
Helping individuals adapt to their environments and providing opportunities for their skill development, education should be integrated into everybody’s life as soon and systematically as possible in order to cope with the changing conditions, to supply resources for skill development, and to lead desired behavioral changes. However, individuals with different characteristics and across different groups cannot make use of education unless necessary arrangements are implemented. Accordingly, the definition of special education within the Decree Law # 573 states that it is the kind of education provided to individuals with special needs in appropriate settings. As stated in the Decree Law #573, both individuals with special needs and their educational settings differ across several parameters; and some individuals with special needs are integrated into the normal classes under the title of “inclusion”. Within the literature, inclusion is defined as “providing the least restrictive education to individuals with special needs through use of appropriate support and service systems as soon and appropriate as possible in order to restore their identities as active members of the society” (Kircaali-Iftar, 1992; Lewis and Doorlag, 1987; O.E.C.D., 1995; Olson et.al, 1999).
Many studies have been conducted on inclusion in Turkey (Atay, 1995; Batu, 1998; Karamanli, 1998; Kaya, 2005; Ozbaba, 2000; Uysal, 1995; Varlier, 2004; Yavuz 2004). A close up of these studies reveals that they were generally designed along quantitative methods. Quantitative data collected through either questionnaires or structured
interviews are criticized because they limit the real thoughts of the participants (Gay, 1987). Since quantitative research is not suitable for representing participants’ ideas thoroughly, qualitative study designs have become more important for current research within special education. Recently, the number of qualitative studies that offer opportunities for the participants to express their real opinions has increased both in Turkey and throughout the world. Therefore, studies on inclusion are also getting more and more in number although there are only few these days (Batu, 1998; Kaya, 2005; Varlier 2004).
Literature review shows that studies generally focus on teachers’ opinions about and suggestions for inclusion programs or if they are efficient in administering inclusion programs. All studies in the literature employed semi-structured interviews for data collection. In addition, all interviews were conducted by the researcher and recorded on a voice recorder following the permission of the participants. Data analyses were completed through several methods such as inductive analysis, digital/numerical analysis, and content analysis.
Although there are some studies conducted on inclusion of preschool students with special needs into normal classes in Turkey, the number of those studies designed along qualitative method is still few (Batu, 1998; Kaya, 2005; Varlier, 2004). Thus, this study examines inclusion efforts within preschool institutions located in the province of Nevsehir through analyzing teachers’ opinions qualitatively.
Results of this research are 12 themes and sub-themes of each theme generated as a result of the answers provided by teachers. Teachers with whom the interviews were held gave different answers about having an extra training for working with students with special needs. A great majority of participants (90%) stated that they had had some kind of extra training through classes they completed at college, private courses, or counseling classes while only 10% of them had received no extra training on special education.
Participating teachers’ opinions on students’ being eligible or ineligible for inclusion also differed. A significant amount of participants (80%) underlined that the blind were never eligible for inclusion, they never fulfilled a complete inclusion, they generally failed regular classes, and they should never be inclusion candidates. In addition, all the participants (100%) also underpinned that students with severe mental retardation should never be included into normal classes since they lacked the ability to learn.
Eighty percent of participants said that students with hearing disability could be integrated into normal classes since they were able to hear and learn with the help of their hearing aid; similarly 60% of participants stated that students with physical disabilities were also successful inclusion candidates since they did not have any mental problems; likewise, more than half of participants (60%) emphasized that autistic
students and students with Down syndrome could also be included into regular classes easily since they had the ability to learn; and finally all the participants (100%) underlined that gifted children and students with mild mental retardation could also be embedded into normal classes since they had the ability to learn.
Participating teachers’ opinions about the successful aspects of inclusion taking place in their own classes were not the same. Most of the participants stated that inclusion students had significant improvement in terms of social (90%) and language (70%) skills. Teachers underpinned that inclusion had a dramatic influence over social and language skills of individuals with special needs and that their families also noticed this improvement.
Teachers shared similar ideas about the factors that led to successful implementation of inclusion within their classes. A majority of the participants (90%) pointed that the biggest factor leading to successful inclusion was the teacher—themselves—, peers and families of the inclusion students, and special education institutions.
On the other hand, teachers had different opinions regarding the problems they faced during the implementation of inclusion program. Findings of this study unveiled that a great portion of participants (70%) underlined that students failed, got easily distracted and bored during cognitive activities due to lack of adequate cognitive development; that they disobeyed the rules, insisted on doing their own task, and failed to find a pair during group works; that they failed in language (Turkish), drama, and music due to inability or difficulty to speak; and that they learned more slowly than others and misunderstood or not understood at all by peers. A relatively limited amount of participants (40%) mentioned that inclusion students had problems with their peers and families. Moreover, a significant percentage (70%) of participants pointed that it was either the teacher lacking quality training on special education or the severity of the disability that caused the problems during inclusion. On the other hand, some other teachers stated that it was the classes with inadequate equipment and the families of other students that led to problems in the implementation of inclusion programs.
Participating teachers also verbalized their expectations from the Ministry of National Education, school management, and the family of the student with special needs in order to apply inclusion program successfully.
Participants held different opinions about the types of activities that inclusion students could take part in. Findings of this research indicate that teachers believe that inclusion students would be more comfortable during leisure time, musical, and play activities since they wouldn’t be bored and wouldn’t go through communication difficulties.
Participants had similar ideas about the type of activities that were difficult for inclusion students with a certain type of disability. Teachers stated that arts, drama, play and movement, and preparation activities for reading were specifically difficult for the blind; Turkish language, music, and drama were not easy to cope with for the hard of hearing;
play and movement, drama, and arts activities were not easy especially for students with physical disabilities; preparation activities for reading and arts activities were not appropriate for the autistic and Down Syndrome students; arts and Turkish language was not cut for the hyperactive students; and preparation activities for reading, science and math activities, and drama were not appropriate for the mentally retarded.
Participating teachers stated different opinions about whether they had extra activities for the inclusion students or not. A great majority of them (80%) said that they made necessary adaptations and arrangements for the inclusion students during the implementation of an activity, but they didn’t make any changes in written documents such as daily or annual plans.
Participants were determined to have different ideas about the general course of inclusion programs within preschool institutions in Turkey. Many of the participants (70%) emphasized the following problems regarding the inadequate implementation of inclusion programs within preschool institutions: preschool institutions have serious deficiencies in terms of the necessary equipment for inclusion programs; the number of students in a class is not appropriate for inclusion; parents, normal students, and teachers do not display positive attitudes towards inclusion since they are not informed enough about it.
Participants were also identified to hold different opinions about support services. A significant percentage (80%) of participants stated that they would go for expert opinion if needed whereas 20% of them said that they would prefer to go for resource room when necessary.
Consequently, findings of this study are consistent with the results of other studies conducted on inclusion in Turkey and other parts of the world. This research has identified the need to be informed about the education of students with special needs in order to apply inclusion successfully and to overcome the emerging problems.
Results point that participating teachers believe students who can move in the classroom without help and who have few learning problems are proper candidates for inclusion into normal classes during preschool education, but the blind or the ones with severe mental retardation will face serious problems during inclusion into normal classes since they can’t move freely and learn easily. Furthermore, teachers have been determined to suffer problems generally during rule governed group activities, activities that require concentration, and the ones based on cognitive skills. In addition, the level of success for inclusion students varies across the types of disability.
Findings of this study have clarified that inclusion students mostly benefit from social and language activities a lot, and that teachers, parents, and special education institutions are the main sources of success within these two areas. Moreover, inclusion students
have difficulties primarily in participating into the activities, and these difficulties are a result of teachers’ inadequate training on special education. Accordingly, teachers have been identified to lack the necessary qualifications in order to develop plans that would positively include the students with special needs.
Another fact unveiled by this study is that teachers have certain expectations from specific institutions, they expect everybody within the inclusion program to cooperate harmoniously, and they feel the need for a specific training on special education in order to have better inclusion programs within preschool education.
Lastly, participating teachers have also been determined to believe that inclusion programs are not administered properly in our country, that it is applied appropriately at only few schools with adequate physical conditions, and that an expert would be of great support service in order to overcome the problems they face in their classrooms.