Introduction to Inclusive Education

Inclusive Education occurs when 

  • All students are viewed from a strengths-based perspective and are seen as competent, as capable of learning.
  • All students belong as full participants in the general education setting, regardless of labels.
  • There is physical, academic and social/emotional access within the general education setting, and in combination with physical togetherness, social belonging, and high quality teaching.

Inclusive Education is not just about special education. It represents a larger vision for schools and educational services that support the academic and social/emotional/behavioral success of all students.

Benefits of Inclusion

  • Students with disabilities in inclusive settings had higher test scores in math and reading, fewer absences, and less disruptive behaviors than students in non-inclusive classes (National Center on Inclusive Education, 2011).
  • Higher attendance rates for both students with and without disabilities (Castro, 2007; Rea, McLaughlin, & Walther-Thomas, 2002).
  • Academic performance of students without disabilities in inclusive settings was better than students in non-inclusive settings (Castro, 2007).
  • Greater Social Benefit
  • More Valued Community
  • More Independent Futures

From IDEA on the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) –

“…To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, aged two to 21, inclusive, …are educated with children without disabilities; and …removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.” (from IDEA, 8VAC20-81-130)

The Goal

Inclusive Education for ALL Students with Disabilities

  • 90% of students with IEPs should have the general education classroom as their primary placement.
  • 80% of students with IEPs should be receiving instruction in core academic content in the general education classroom with special education support through co-planning and co-teaching (Villa & Thousand, 2016).