İssues Facing Students With Special Needs İn Turkish Schools Perceptions of İnclusive Education Practices in Turkey Margaret Sheldon, May, 2011.
İntroduction <ul><li>The following perceptions and responses are those of an Australian Special Education Teacher and Consultant based in İstanbul throughout 2010 and continuing into 2011. </li></ul><ul><li>These views and suggestions have been formed following the review of a variety of education documents and the analysis of anecdotal information gathered during interviews and interactions with participants in the local education system. </li></ul><ul><li>The framework for this presentation was based on an email from the parent of a Turkish student presently experiencing inclusive education in a mainstream school. </li></ul>
İdentification / Diagnosis “ After the diagnosis , it was very hard to find the proper help to educate the child at home.” Further paramedical specialists, service providers and Special Education teachers are needed in Turkey to improve and extend the present support services for the underpinning and reinforcement of inclusive practices in schools.
İnclusion <ul><li>“ 15 years ago very few educated people knew what integration ( i guess you say adjustment) was. I hope that it is better now.” </li></ul><ul><li>There are clear indications from Turkish Ministry documents in reference to Special Education, that inclusive education practices are being actively promoted to Turkish mainstream schools and other educational institutions. </li></ul>
Teacher Participation <ul><li>“ At home it is not that hard to organize, but at school it was hard because of lack of education how ‘’adjustment’’ has to be done. The teachers do not know how to adjust these children to the other children, how to explain it to the other families.” </li></ul><ul><li>Generally, mainstream teachers are willing to participate in inclusive education however, they are very concerned about the lack of appropriate resources and training to implement these programs. They are also concerned about the wider school community’s perceptions of their inclusive education practices. </li></ul>
School Based Support <ul><li>“ Most of the schools do not accept an assistant to class, they think that counseling will be enough.” </li></ul><ul><li>Successful inclusive practices in mainstream schools require strong reinforcement from a variety of trained staff across a number of different roles operating under clear role descriptions. These roles include the following: </li></ul><ul><li>School based: Special Education Teachers, Teacher Assistants, Case Managers, İEP Coordinators, Counselors. </li></ul><ul><li>Community based: Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Educational Psychologists. </li></ul>
Community Awareness <ul><li>“ How to explain it to the other families. I experienced that most of the parents wanted to change their children’s class because of my son’s situation. Some wondered why we have an extra teacher only for him in class.” </li></ul><ul><li>Fairness in inclusive practices relates to each student receiving what they need rather than everyone receiving the same. </li></ul><ul><li>Compassionate community awareness programs which provide accurate information about a range of possible responses to support students with special needs will help to establish a positive environment for implementing inclusive practices. </li></ul>
Curriculum Adjustments <ul><li>“ Because education starts in Kindergarten these children need materials to play and learn. Special materials to make understanding easier. Those should be also in the first or second class available and be used by the teachers for these children.“ </li></ul><ul><li>Early intervention strategies and the use of specialised teaching and learning materials have proven invaluable in helping students with special needs to prepare for and adjust to system based education experiences. </li></ul>
Accommodative Adjustments <ul><li>“ Also it happens that they need a time-out during class, so they should be able to have a corner for themselves until they feel better.” </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriately flexible classroom environments with purpose designed areas e.g. Discussion spaces vs Thinking spaces, coupled with positive classroom management strategies and individualised learning programs and materials, can provide a more user friendly environment for all students involved in inclusive education. </li></ul>
Management of Teacher Assistants <ul><li>“ The teachers do not know how to adjust the assistant to the other children.“ </li></ul><ul><li>The management of Teacher Assistants to help facilitate İEP learning experiences for students with special needs, is part of the collaboratively shared responsibilities of the student’s İEP Support Group. </li></ul><ul><li>The role of Special Education Teacher in this group includes guidance and support to the Classroom Teachers as they manage the Teacher Assistants within the classroom. </li></ul>
Alternative Environments <ul><li>“ İn some cases you need a special room for one-to-one study.” </li></ul><ul><li>Many students with special needs require a withdrawal room to access the following: </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced sensorial stimulation e.g. Visual and/or auditory, to enable them to complete mainstream or İEP tasks without ongoing distraction. </li></ul><ul><li>Temporary relief from social contact to debrief with a support person. </li></ul><ul><li>Recovery time following physical, emotional or cognitive fatigue. </li></ul>
Legislation <ul><li>“ These were the most important points I had to face. I feel lucky to be here, because most of the other schools would not accept these children, although it is a must by law. “ </li></ul><ul><li>As has been experienced in other countries, at some stage, the legal rights of Turkish students with special needs to an appropriate education alongside their mainstream peers, will need to be highlighted and reinforced by court action. </li></ul><ul><li>Until then, it is the responsibility of all those involved in education to continue their journey towards the development and establishment of inclusive education practices in Turkey. </li></ul>