Individualized supports should be added to allow a student access and the ability to make effective progress. At IEP meetings, the discussion should start with HOW a student can be educated in inclusion, not immediately go to a substantially separate program. To start with most restrictive and/or offer “this is our program and how we run it” is simply unethical and wrong. Children with disabilities are entitled to learn alongside their non-disabled peers.
Frustrating to read IEPs with little or no inclusion, none of it with appropriate or consistent staffing, and a program description under additional information about “The ABC Program is for students with X disabilities and has a teacher and some aides who accompany children as the team sees appropriate to inclusion activities”.
Don’t sign that IEP. Make the school honor the I in IEP.
Inclusive education is more than mainstreaming. Mainstreaming implies that a student from a separate special education class visits the regular classroom for specific, usually non-academic, subjects. Inclusion is an educational process by which all students, including those with disabilities, are educated together for all, or at least most , of the school day. Generally 80% or more of the day is what is considered inclusion by proponents-a majority could be anything more than 50%. With sufficient support, students participate in age-appropriate, general education classes in their neighborhood schools.
Inclusion is a philosophy of education based on the belief in every person’s inherent right to fully participate in society. Inclusion implies acceptance of differences. It makes room for the person who would otherwise be excluded from the educational experiences that are fundamental to every student’s development.
When inclusion is effectively implemented, research has demonstrated academic and social benefits for all students: both those who have special needs as well as typical students. Friendships develop, nondisabled students are more appreciative of differences and students with disabilities are more motivated. True acceptance of diversity ultimately develops within the school environment and is then carried into the home, workplace and community.