originally posted on thinkinclusive.com
By Dr. Steve C. Imber
Inclusion is not in the IDEA.
Although the term ‘inclusion’ is not included within the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004), inclusion has become a prominent strategy for educating children and youth with disabilities with non-disabled peers within a general education setting since the late 1980’s and 1990’s.
The concept of mainstreaming connotes placing a student with disabilities in a general education setting within minimal modifications of objectives, instructional strategies, evaluation procedures and grading strategies. However, that concept will also not be found within the federal regulations pertaining to educating children with disabilities.The term ‘least restrictive environment’ can be found in various federal and state regulations that pertain to students with disabilities. In 1975, when the United States Congress passed landmark legislation, P.L. 94-142, The Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975, the term least restrictive environment was addressed. Congress expressed a strong preference for educating children with disabilities with their non-disabled peers.
Congress mandated that Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams include the parents and professionals with knowledge about the child. Congress also mandated that prior to exploring matters of placement in more restrictive settings than a general education classroom, the IEP team must first consider how the child might be supported through the necessary aides and supports.
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