This chapter will provide information about the background of the study, statement of the problem, research objectives and other important details about the topic of this study. This part will provide some information regarding the focus of this study.
Some important documents will be provided in this part of the paper to enable the researcher to have guidance towards the attainment of the research topic. One of the many issues that remained inclusive in relation to autism is the implementation of inclusion classroom settings (Eason & Whitbread, 2006) for the children with this disability.
Herein, the problem is to determine how inclusion affects autistic children. Inclusive schools are established primarily for the special children’s better learning and development. Specifically, inclusion aims to benefit special children through improvements on their learning outcomes, including their social skills academic achievement and personal development.
So as to meet all the learning needs of the children within a community, inclusion promotes the initiation of mainstream school restructuring. According to Anderson (2003), inclusion aims to establish more effective schools that recognize students’ difficulties in learning; hence, effective schools support the need for appropriate reforms (Cook, Klein & Tessier, 2004).
B. Problem Statement
The problem is to determine the impact of inclusion to the cognitive and social development of autistic children. Because of the growing problems associated with the inclusion of autistic children in classroom mainstream, there is a need for a study that will identify the effect of this program with children.
Through appropriate assessment tools, the effect of inclusion settings to the cognitive and social development of autistic children will be identified. Specifically, this proposal will attempt to answer the following queries:
What are the effects of inclusion to the cognitive and social development of autistic students?
In what ways do inclusion classroom settings are advantageous and disadvantageous to the children and instructors?
What are the perspectives of the parents towards the practice of letting children with autism to attend mainstream classroom set up?
What are the needed strategies and modifications in order to improve the current teaching strategies applied for autistic children?
II. Purpose of the Research
Although a number of studies had already been conducted in relation to the development of autistic children in inclusion classroom setting, further investigation and researches is still important and necessary. This primary research goal will be done by comparing two groups of autistic students where one will be asked to attend an inclusive classroom, while the other will be placed on a special education setting.
This research proposal will identify the cognitive and social impact of inclusion so as to help the school administrators, educators and parents provide the most effective method of educating autistic children. The following statements will then serve as the main objectives of the study:
To identify the specific effects of inclusion to the cognitive and social development of the autistic children. To investigate on how the disabilities of autistic children affect their daily lives, particularly in the social and learning aspect. To determine the significant differences of autistic children attending special education classes to those learning in mainstream schools. To identify ways on how current teaching strategy may be improved for the benefit of children with autism
III. Description of the Community
In order to achieve the objective of this study a total of 30 students will be used for this proposed study, 20 of which will be autistic students while the remaining 10 students will have no disabilities. Ten of the 20 autistic students will make up the control group and attend the specialized classroom setting for children with autism.
The other 10 autistic students, along with the 10 non-disabled students, will make up the experimental group. Inclusion will then be applied to the experimental group. All students will be at age six and attend one public school in Florida. Three first grade teachers will be used for this process.
Each teacher will be answering the evaluation tool selected to assess each student’s behaviour, attitude, and learning capability. Three evaluators will also be asked to attend the classes of both groups. The teachers and evaluators will not be aware which among the students are autistic or not. This will then help in avoiding subjective findings. The same group of teachers and evaluators will be asked to assess the students of the control and experimental groups.