If you, like me, are over the age of 30, you probably do not remember having students with disabilities in any of your classes throughout the entirety of your school years.
This is because educational inclusion is a relatively new concept. Though the concept of "least restrictive environment" was first put forth in 1975, most of us were long outside of our school years by the time students with disabilities were routinely included in the general education classroom.
Prior to this, most students with disabilities were educated in self-contained special education classrooms or in special schools that were intended solely to serve students with disabilities.
The IDEA mandate for "least restrictive environment" (or LRE) sets the expectation for how and where students with disabilities are to be educated in their local school system.
“To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care...
Sometimes I talk with parents who aren't sure about their child with a disability being an inclusive classroom.
They're worried that their student won't get the level of attention that they need, that she or he may be a distraction to other students, that their student may participate in unsafe behavior because of the materials that are available, or that she or he will feel left out if they cannot understand the content being taught.
As such, I want to take some time to address why and how inclusion benefits children with disabilities as well as those without disabilities.
A quick disclaimer here-- I know that a fully inclusive environment is not possible and/or not the right placement for every student. That said, I do believe that every child can benefit from inclusive experiences, even if they are not spending their school day in a general education classroom.
So let's get to it! How does inclusion benefit children with disabilities?
Most notably, inclusion benefits...
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