The Social Development of Children with Mild Developmental Disabilities in Inclusive Preschools
This paper examines the social development of children with mild developmental disabilities in inclusive preschools. Since the enactment of PL 94-142, also known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the interest in inclusive preschools has increased, and they have become more prevalent in the United States. One of the main tenets of IDEA is that all children with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). Therefore, children with disabilities must be included in classrooms with typically developing children as much as possible. After reviewing the literature, I propose that there are two major factors that might explain why the social development of children with mild developmental disabilities is promoted in inclusive preschools: (a) program quality; and (b) the role of the teacher. Additionally, the literature on inclusive preschools consistently states that in order to generate the best outcomes, inclusive preschools must have high quality programs and high quality teachers. Thus, the effects of inclusive preschools are dependent on the quality of their programs and teachers. As a result, it will also be necessary to determine what characteristics constitute high quality programs and high quality teachers.
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