Mainstreaming Readings and Activities for Counsellors and Teachers
Edward L. Edmonds is a professor of education at the University of
Prince Edward Island and an honorary chief of the Lennox Island
Mi’kmaq of Prince Edward Island.
This booklet of 70 pages is one of a continuing series of “companion pieces” to some of the main issues in education today. Thus far, the whole series has been most helpful to teachers, and this booklet handsomely maintains that tradition.
Since PL 94-142, Education for all Handicapped Children Act, 1975, the right of every handicapped child to the least restrictive education has been widely recognized in the United States and here in Canada. Ontario has been a leader in the field of such provision. Most restrictive education would be residential school or hospital, then special school, special class, Learning Assistance Centers (or Resource Rooms), help from itinerant teachers, and so to least restrictive — namely, full integration and mainstreaming into the ordinary classroom.
Mainstreaming, however, cannot be done at the stroke of a pen. This book first points out clearly and succinctly the facts, the problems, and the solutions every teacher should be acquainted with beforehand. It then gives excellent advice to counsellors how best to prepare for mainstreaming; and the concluding section deals with facilitating mainstreaming. A particular strength of the book is its advice to school boards: “to proceed with integration without adequate preparation and support is destructive to all concerned — teachers and pupils in particular.” The appendix lists useful source material for further reading, resource books for working with handicapped students, and films relating to both general and specific handicaps.
This booklet is highly recommended as essential reading for all parents, teachers, counsellors, school boards — in fact, for all who in any way can offer leadership in these newer developments in the field of mainstreaming. A suitable summary of the book’s message is simply this: intelligent reconnaissance is essential for successful mainstreaming.