Easing Anxiety through Increasing Knowledge: Supporting Educators in Inclusive Settings

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General educators are often anxious or fearful when learning that a student with a disability is to be included in their classroom. These anxieties are due perhaps to the teacher’s perception of not being trained or of being ill-prepared to support students with disabilities. Through increasing the knowledge base of preservice and/or inservice teachers, and with exposure to the field of disabilities, these fears or anxieties may be lessened. It has been said that we fear the unknown, and this certainly applies to those who have not had an opportunity to work with (or know) an individual with a disability and their family. Through structured and planned activities, preservice and inservice teachers gain a more positive attitude toward the possibility of teaching ALL children in an inclusive classroom. The realization that individuals with disabilities are more similar to everyone than dis-similar assists in the process. Person First Language, Families as Faculty and Modifications/Accommodations for the general classroom are basic components of this process.


Keywords: General Educators, Inclusive Classrooms, Disabilities
Stream: Special Education, Learning Difficulties, Disability
Presentation Type: 60 minute Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: Easing Anxiety through Increasing Knowledge


Dr. Robin A. Wells

Assistant Professor, Educational Studies, Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, NM, USA

Dr. Wells has 32 years experience as a speech-language pathologist in the public schools prior to obtaining her Ph.D. in Early Childhood Special Education. She worked for over 20 years with individuals with autism/Asperger Syndrome and their families and was instrumental in establishing the Governor’s Commission on Autism in the state of Kansas. Her interests include positive behavior support; infants, toddlers and young children; transdisciplinary practice; collaboration and teaming; professional development; and inclusive practices. In the fall of 2008, Dr. Wells initiated an online Master degree program in Special Education with an Emphasis in Early Childhood Special Education at Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, NM where she is an Assistant Professor.

Ref: L09P0141