The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees students with disabilities the right to be educated with their peers in the general education classroom to the maximum extent appropriate. The IEP team determines the supports and accommodations necessary for successful participation in the general education classroom and other special education services as needed. According to the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation, schools are responsible for ensuring that students with disabilities make Adequate Yearly Progress. One component of implementing IDEA and NCLB legislation is determining effective practices to educate students with disabilities in general education classes alongside their peers without disabilities. The goal of this document is to provide information regarding the education of students with disabilities in general education settings.
What does "inclusion" mean? The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) and its preceding legislation do not include the term "inclusion," consequently; a legal definition has not been established. Inclusion in its broadest meaning, implies that students with disabilities are a part of the overall school community and should be included in all activities associated with the school. Some of the confusion over the use of "inclusion" rises from its inconsistent use. As educators have worked to include students with disabilities in the general curriculum, the term "inclusion" has been used to describe this effort. In general, the term "inclusion" means that students with disabilities participate in the same activities as their peers without disabilities including, general education classes, extracurricular organizations, and social activities. The term inclusion also implies that students are provided services and supports in the general education setting before being removed to a special education classroom or excluded from an activity.