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Special Education


New York State has been debating the idea of mainstreaming
the learning disabled student back into the general
education classroom for some time. The research described
in this journal article describes the positive and negative
effects of mainstreaming the special education student by
observing general education classroom teachers to determine
if they can accommodate the students with disabilities.
This study has shown that these educators had accepted the
mainstreamed student with a learning disability into their
classroom and treated them as fair as the other students
although, they did not make specific classroom arrangements
or accommodations for a learning disabled curriculum.
Materials for learning were consistent for both the
learning disabled student as well as the general education
student, even though there was a cognitive gap between what
the learning disabled students knew and the material used
in class. The learning disabled students were attentive in
class, but participated infrequently. Very few students
volunteered o answer questions and asking for help was
virtually non-existent. Also, the mainstreamed learning
disabled student reacted and interacted with the general
education student at an extremely low rate.
 As shown by this study, there are many problems with
mainstreaming the learning disabled student back into the
classroom. First and foremost, is that the educators will
need to be taught the skills to accommodate the student
with a learning disability. There are different techniques
in teaching special education and many educators,
especially at the secondary grade levels, do not possess
these skills. Even in the study, the educators used in this
research were not trained in special education. They
proclaimed themselves eligible to teach learning disabled
 A second problem with the mainstreamed learning disabled
student is that of time orientation. Learning disabled
students need special attention. Often they need material
read to them in order to fully comprehend the task in hand.
Some even need questions read and recorded on tests. In
general, they need more one on one instruction. 

 A single teacher can not handle this work load, especially
in the large group format of the general education class
that usually encompasses twenty to twenty-five students.
This class size is to large and is an inhibiting
restriction for the learning disabled student. The
educators need assistants trained in teaching special
education students. This is where para educators could be

 A para educator trained in this field of special education
would enable the teacher to have adequate time to discuss
lessons while giving the special education student time for
more one on me instruction. This study showed learning
disabled students would not ask for help or answer
questions alone, so maybe they would feel more comfortable
with an assistant by their side offering reinforcement and
 Even with teachers taking the extra time needed to learn
the skills needed to teach the learning disabled student,
and educated para professionals at their side, the next
problem that can hinder the progress of this type of
education is money.
 The question that we will all ask is, Would their be
enough allocated federal and state funds to pay for
teachers with better skills? Also, every room on the
general education class would have to have one or more para
educators. Also, with more students being mainstreamed back
into these schools, classroom sizes being reduced to
accommodate these students needs, classroom space is going
to be limited. More money is going to be needed to
construct extra wings and possibly more schools.
 Even with the funds to pay for everything we have just
mentioned, bringing in a new student with learning
disability would have to be on an individual basis. A
staffing on the student would have to happen to evaluate if
that student could survive and excel in a general education


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