Mainstreaming: The proof is in the implementation

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Warns that mainstreaming, or the practice of educating handicapped children in the “least restrictive environment,” must be carefully monitored. Mainstreaming could proceed along the same lines as deinstitutionalization, which has often amounted to the trading of inferior care for no care at all. Research is desperately needed, the authors assert, to determine which children, with which handicaps, are likely to benefit from mainstreaming. To date, the data on the merits of educating mentally retarded children with their normal peers are inconclusive. Without appropriate teacher training and support services, mainstreaming appears doomed to fail. Thus, any mainstreaming worthy of the name is no bargain for taxpayers. Finally, the authors question the sanctity of normalization, the principle behind mainstreaming. (13 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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