I see the social aspect of inclusion as the priority over the educational aspect. I have concerns about the inclusion “movement” disallowing for appropriate services, i.e. cognitively delayed students who would not be receiving remediation if placed in a regular classroom setting.
I am concerned that we are no longer addressing the student’s unique needs and are “warehousing” them for social reasons.
I do not see inclusion as a movement. It is a word that is not in the statute. For a better understanding, read the actual definition of Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) in the statute. For more depth, see the federal regulations.
You’ll find 20 U.S.C. § 1412(a)(5) in your law book on p. 72 and 34 CFR § 300.114 on p. 207.
“While the Act and regulations recognize that IEP teams must make individualized decisions about the special education … IDEA’s strong preference that, to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities be educated in regular classes with their nondisabled peers with appropriate supplementary aids and services.”
LRE Varies for Each Child
Least restrictive environment will vary from one child to the next. LRE may even vary with the same child, over a span of time.
1. For some children, such as Shannon Carter, the least restrictive environment was a private residential school of LD/dyslexic children who were taught basic reading, writing, arithmetic, and spelling skills in a highly segregated restrictive setting.
2. For other children, the least restrictive may be a regular education program with supports, services, aides, etc.
3. And for other children, especially with autism, it can be both. Some of these children need very intense, one on one, ABA Lovaas type therapy 40 hours a week.
Usually after approximately two years of such therapy, they can make a gradual transition into regular public school programs with an aide, also known as a “shadow” who is well versed in ABA principles.
Perhaps eventually, they will move out of special education and be supported fully in a regular education environment, with no special education required.
You’ll find A Simplified Guide to Key Legal Requirements of LRE in this Pacer Center information sheet.