What is Inclusion?

In the past, many students with disabilities were considered too severely disabled to be educated in general school settings. In response to a growing body of research and to meet federal regulations, school systems have begun to provide the necessary supports and services in the general education setting. Students with disabilities may have medical, behavioral, social, and/or cognitive issues unlike any other students in the school. A thorough inclusion plan will provide for the needs of, not only the students to be integrated, but also of the general school staff and general student population.

IDEA ‘97 and IDEA ‘04 - LRE Provision

“To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, …are educated with children who are not disabled… and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.”

--Section 1412 (a)(5)(A) of IDEA ’97

(The) individualized education program…(must include)… an explanation of the extent, if any, to which the child will not participate with non-disabled children in the regular class and in the activities described. . .

--Section 614(d)(1)(A)(cc)(V) of H.R. 1350 IDEIA ‘04

Benefits for All Students

  • Reduce fear of human differences.
  • Increased comfort and awareness.
  • Opportunities for leadership through peer supports.
  • More time spent working cooperatively.
  • Positive attitude toward school.
  • Improved self-esteem.
  • Improved citizenship.

Benefits for Teacher Partnerships

  • Awareness of general education curriculum.
  • Background information on students with disabilities.
  • Collaboration on learning strategies.
  • Support on IEP implementation.
  • Collaboration on interventions for students with and without
  • disabilities.

Inclusion ensures the maximum opportunity for the participation of all individuals in every aspect of the community. It guarantees the provision of services and supports necessary for all individuals to participate in society. -Florida’s Strategic Plan for Exceptional Education

History of Inclusion in Lee County

  • 1998 - Superintendent established District Inclusion Task Force. Vision Philosophy and Definition of inclusion established.
  • 1999 - Pilot Schools identified to participate in National Conference. 7 Schools participated in QDI training.
  • 2003 - Task Force developed long range “PATH” regarding full district training for inclusion.
  • 2009 - All District Schools have had teams trained in inclusion.

Mainstreaming . . .

  • Visitors in General Class
  • Student earns way into general program.
  • May be returned to special class if student does not “make it”.
  • Support not provided to general teacher.

Inclusion . . .

  • Members of General Class
  • Readiness is not a requirement of membership.
  • Supports and services provided in the general program.
  • Collaboration between general and special educator.