Individualization Principle in Inclusive Education in Taiwan: Analysis of Experiences of Five Young Adults with Hearing Impairment
Social inclusion has become the main component of disability policies worldwide. The Ministry of Education in Taiwan announced the concept of inclusive education in 1995. Numerous theories have shown the value of appropriate and individualized learning support for students with disabilities in inclusive education; this type of support can provide students with disabilities with a foundation for successful social inclusion. This study explored the practical application of individualized learning support in Taiwan after 1995 through documentary analysis and in-depth interviews with five young adults with hearing impairment during June through August, 2012; the interviewees were all between the ages of 20 and 30 years and had previously received inclusive education. The results of this study illustrate two crucial points: First, all interviewees shared a considerable lack of individualized support in their inclusive education. Related resources in schools, including teaching knowledge and technology for students with hearing impairment, were insufficient. Second, the interviewees all experienced low pay, long-term unemployment, or other unstable situations, because their professional abilities were undervalued. They could not define and distinguish their special needs caused by hearing impairment. These research findings confirm those of previous studies. A lack of individualized support for students with disabilities can decisively influence the success of employment and the ability to meet their special needs. Inclusive education without practice of the individualization principle cannot guarantee successful social inclusion.