Special Education and Regional Center Blog
Helping Parents Navigate the Special Education, the Regional Center, and IHSS program.
What is inclusion?
Inclusion is when a student that is eligible for special education is placed in a general education classroom. Sometimes this is called mainstreaming. Inclusion looks different for each student. Sometimes the students spends the entire day in the general education classroom and is only pulled out for services like speech or OT. Or the student could spend most of his or her time in the general education classroom, but is pulled out just for certain subjects such as math.
What is the law?
Every student who receives special education and related services must be educated with non-disabled peers to the “maximum extent appropriate,” and may be removed from the regular education environment only when the nature and severity of the student’s disabilities is such that education in the general education setting with the use of supplementary aids and services “cannot be achieved satisfactorily.” (See 34 C.F.R. §300.114).
Additionally, the district must place the student in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). LRE requires the district must place your child in a placement that is the least restrictive that the child can accomplish his or her goals. LRE allows that to the maximum extent appropriate, your child should be placed with non-disabled peers. See Blog Post here.
Four Factors to Consider.
There are four factors or test that the courts have developed to consider when determining whether mainstreaming is appropriate. (See Sacramento City Unified School District v. Rachel H., 14 F.3d 1398, 1404 (9th Cir. 1994) Factors to consider when determining whether mainstream is appropriate:
Note, no court has thoroughly analyzed the fourth factor.
Why is it Important.
I love this SWIFT document entitled Research Support for Inclusive Education and SWIFT from January 2017. The report highlights that thirty years of research shows that when students with varied learning and support needs learn together, they experience better academic and behavioral outcomes, social relationships, high school graduation rates, and post-school success. Who doesn’t want that for their child? Another important consideration with mainstreaming is that ALL students, not just the ones with a disability do better. Your child with a disability is not a charity case, but just the opposite, your child is helping all students in the classroom.
Here are some highlights of different research:
Is Inclusion for Everyone.
No, inclusion is not for every student. Sometimes a student needs a smaller group setting or more individualized attention. However, inclusion could work for lots of students that are not currently being included. Also, sometimes inclusion does not work because it is not being done correctly. Before deciding inclusion is not for your child, it should be implemented correctly. Please contact me with any questions about inclusion.