Pros of Mainstreaming
Students get to receive their education with their non-disabled peers who are the same age as them. By doing so, students get to interact with their peers in ways that the special education classroom wouldn’t do. Many students with special needs often have an identified need to improve their social skills. Placing them into classes with a diverse group of students can certainly help increase those skills.
It also helps self-esteem as well, because the students know that they are in "regular" education classes with their peers. No matter how hard we work to break down walls and build acceptance, the social stigma of being different still exists. By blending students of differing abilities into one classroom, not only does it help the students with special needs, but it also helps the regular education students as well, by teaching them how to work with others who are different from them. It teaches all students compassion, acceptance, collaboration and patience, life-long skills that will better prepare them for the future.
Another advantage of mainstreaming is that the students are receiving the same curricula material as their non-disabled peers. Although they may receive accommodations and modifications to the curriculum, they are still learning what everyone else is learning. It gives these students a chance to learn something that they may not have had a chance to learn in a special education classroom.
If classrooms aren't mainstreamed, then a great majority of the student population will not be exposed to students with special needs. This means that they will never get to learn or promote the kind of tolerance that will carry with them through adulthood.
Mainstreaming special needs students with the rest of the population exposes all students to all types of people, whether they have disorders or not. As the other students learn tolerance, the students with special needs will learn what behaviors are acceptable and which ones aren't.