Typical children in inclusive classrooms learned social skills such as initiating interactions, negotiating sharing (Odom et al., 2002). Those who are able to model exemplary behaviors for children with special needs are likely to gain benefits in self-esteem, confidence, autonomy, and leadership skills (Gupta, Henninger, & Vinh, 2014). The benefits of typical siblings studying at the same settings can be remarkable.
Decades of research has shown that, if given meaningful interactions in inclusive classrooms with typical children, children with special needs can gain positive outcomes across all developmental domains (Holahan & Costenbader, 2000; Odom, 2000; Rafferty, Boettcher, & Griffin, 2001), develop friendships and social networks (Hall & McGregor, 2000) and are more likely to demonstrate positive social behaviors compared to those in special education settings only (Holahan & Costenbader, 2000; Strain, Bovey, Wilson, & Roybal, 2009).
Furthermore, one of the most pertinent reasons for intervention to take place in natural or inclusive settings is to take advantage of all the potential learning opportunities to enhance behavior and development (Bruder, 2010). Such learning usually centers around every day routines (e.g. mealtimes, play time, story time), which involve the active participation of the child in learning and they serve to strengthen existing abilities, whilst promoting development of new competencies (Bruder, 2010).
However, the benefits of inclusion are not just restricted to children with special needs. Research shows that typical kids reap the benefits of being more sensitive to the needs of others than peers enrolled in early childhood settings for typically children only (Diamond & Carpenter, 2000).