Special Education is a service,
not a place.
“Education is the
greatest equalizer of the
conditions of men.”
In the same sense, inclusion
is the greatest equalizer of
the conditions of education.
Equality of opportunity for
everyone is the basic
foundation for inclusive
Individuals with Disabilities Act
a free appropriate public education
(FAPE) for all students with disabilities.
the least restrictive environment for all
students with disabilities.
that all students with disabilities are to be
educated within the general education
curriculum alongside age-appropriate
typical peers to the maximum extent
The following terms and
concepts relate to inclusion and
understanding them helps
contribute to understanding
expectations in inclusive
Legislative term that describes the
settings in which students with identified
disabilities should be served. LRE is
defined as the setting most like that for
peers without disabilities in which a
student can succeed with appropriate
supports and services.
Environment is the
inclusion is the
A philosophy or set of beliefs based on
the idea that students with disabilities
have the right to be members of
classroom communities with
nondisabled peers, whether or not they
can meet the traditional expectations of
those classrooms. Inclusion is based
on the notion that all students can
make valuable contributions to a class.
the equitable celebration of diversity in
the recognition of the unique
combination of strengths that all children
bring to the classroom.
giving each student what is needed in
order to be academically and socially
LRE and Placement
There is no legal provision in the IDEA for
“full inclusion.” Placement decisions must
be based on the individual needs of the
student in the “full implementation of
LRE,” starting with consideration of
regular classroom placement with
supplementary aids and services.
Full inclusion means not offering any LRE
placements – only the regular education
Caution: Potential conflict with LRE
Service Delivery Systems
in Inclusive Schools
In most schools, no single service
delivery system can exist alone as the
means through which inclusive practices
are implemented. Instead, there should
be a wide variety of service delivery
systems emphasizing collaboration that
provides supports to students with
Inclusion doesn’t mean
trying to fit students
with special needs into
the mainstream, instead
it means creating a
Martha Snell and Rachel Janney
The merging of educational components
that contribute to inclusion. Three
components are considered:
• physical integration of students
• social integration of students
• instructional integration of students
It is not so much about where students sit
as how they are viewed by teachers,
other staff members and peers. Schools
working toward being inclusive use their
mission statement as a start and
implement it in a meaningful way.
“ Inclusion involves all kinds of
practices that are ultimately
practices of good teaching.
What good teachers do is to
think thoughtfully about children
and develop ways to reach all
Dr. Chris Kliewer
include the ability to -
Problem solve, to be able to informally
assess the skills a student needs.
Take advantage of children’s individual
interests and use their internal
motivation for developing needed skills.
Set high but alternative expectations
that are suitable for the students.
Ability to determine how to modify
assignments for students; how to design
classroom activities. It means more
activity-based teaching rather than seat-
Ability to learn how to value all kinds of
skills that students bring to class, not just
A realization that every child in the class
is their responsibility.
Knowing a variety of instructional
strategies and how to use them
effectively. This includes the ability to
adapt materials and rewrite objectives
for a child’s need.
Working as a team with parents and
school staff to learn what skills a child
needs and to provide the best teaching
Viewing each child in the class as an
opportunity to become a better teacher
rather than a problem to be coped with
or have someone else fix.
A hallmark of inclusive schools is the
sense that there is always new
information that can help teachers better
address student needs. If teachers and
administrators attend workshops,
classes, or other staff development
opportunities, they share what they have
learned with colleagues.
The style professionals use to undertake
their shared responsibilities.
Collaboration refers to how
professionals interact as opposed to the
topics of their conversations.
The research has shown no adverse
effects on general education students
educated with their special education
peers, when the program is correctly
designed with appropriate supports in
Co-teaching enables teachers or other
licensed professionals to form
instructional partnerships for the purpose
of delivering high quality instruction to
diverse classroom groups. Generally,
students with disabilities or other special
needs benefit from this option, but so do
students who are gifted, students who are
typical learners, and students who are at-
risk for school failure.
Support in Classrooms
Sometimes services should be delivered
in a general education setting, but the
partnership required in co-teaching is not
needed or not appropriate. Support
might be offered in a classroom when
paraprofessionals assist students in
general education classrooms, or when
teachers or other licensed personnel
provide periodic assistance.
Professionals skilled in working with
students with special needs meet on a
regular basis with teachers to problem
solve. A behavior specialist, S/L
therapist, OT, PT, or special education
teacher might serve as a consultant. By
meeting to identify a problem, teachers
and consultants can maximize student
Related Services and
Speech Language Services
Positive Behavioral Specialist
Orientation and Mobility Specialist
Grade-level teams and interdisciplinary
or departmental teams meet regularly to
discuss curriculum and problem solve
about students. Special educators and
other support providers can join these
teams to help create strategies and
interventions as well as to address
issues related to curricular adaptations.
This helps to make communication more
consistent and more efficient.
Informal Problem Solving
Teachers in inclusive schools often need
to meet one-to-one to proactively or
reactively problem solve regarding
students they share.
Instruction in a Separate
Although the goal in an inclusive school
is for most instruction to occur in general
education settings, occasionally student
needs indicate this is not appropriate.
Keys to inclusion…
Collaboration among general education and special
Previewing lessons before instruction occurs
Modifying lessons to meet specific student needs
Accommodating specific student needs
Preteaching/pretesting to prevent reteaching/retesting
Reformatting assignments to maximize visual
Using technology to assist student success
Differentiating instructional strategies, assignments, and
assessments to accommodate learning styles
“But it’s not fair…”
It’s not fair to deny any student his/her
basic civil rights.
It’s not fair to deny any student what is
needed to be successful.
It’s not fair (unlawful) to deny FAPE in
It’s also not fair…
It’s not fair to hold students accountable
for proficient test scores if they are
denied access to the general education
curriculum to the fullest extent
It’s also not fair…
It’s not fair to hold teachers/schools
accountable for proficient test scores if
students are denied access to the
general education curriculum to the
fullest extent appropriate.
Empirical research shows quality
indicators of inclusive practices
Shared ownership of all students
Collaboration is the instructional norm
Classrooms contain students with
disabilities in natural proportions
Only those natural supports that are
needed are put in place to foster
independence and self-advocacy skills of
Children are not the same,
but they should have the
“Even the worst student is a
good example of what is not
Food for Thought
Out of every 10 IDEA eligible students, five (5)
are LD. These LD students should have
average or above average intelligence.
Out of every 10 IDEA eligible students, one (1)
is Emotionally Disabled.
Out of every 10 IDEA eligible students, two (2)
fall into a low incidence category
BOTTOMLINE:Eight (8) out of every ten (10)
IDEA eligible students have average
He who is apt to teach is acquainted, not
only with the common methods for
common minds but with peculiar methods
for pupils of peculiar dispositions and
temperaments; and he is acquainted with
the principles of all methods whereby he
can vary his plan according to any
difference of circumstances.
For More Information
Dr. Armerita D. Tell, Bureau Director
Mississippi Department of Education
Office of Special Education