One of the chief advantages of inclusive special education is the opportunity for traditional and special education students to learn from one another. Achieving this advantage does not come without cost, however. A major disadvantage of inclusive special education is that special education students are not always able to receive the specialized instruction and one-on-one attention they get in a self-contained classroom.
According to PBS, there are numerous advantages to an inclusive special education program. In such a classroom, special education students are able to make friends with regular education students and better learn the necessary social skills to aid them in life.
Special education students feel less "different" and are able to participate in "normal" situations. They learn by association with their peers, and, in turn, regular education students learn about diversity and respecting others despite their differences.
In these larger classrooms, however, there is less time for each individual student. Although inclusion classrooms often have more than one teacher, individualized instruction is limited. On the other hand, regular education students often receive less attention in such classrooms as well.
Teachers frequently must focus more of their time on the students with special needs, and the regular education students suffer as a result. Class time is often disrupted by students with behavioral disabilities, and many teachers are ill-equipped to handle the wide range of issues presented to them.