Inclusion is the educational practice of integrating students with disabilities and other special needs into the regular school curriculum. Proponents of full inclusion argue for including all special-needs children in regular classrooms at their home schools and eliminating all special education classes (Fuchs & Fuchs, 1994). The aim of full inclusion is threefold: to develop the social skills of children with disabilities, to improve the attitude of nondisabled students toward children with disablities, and to develop positive relationships and friendships between disabled and nondisabled children (Snell, 1991).
The Appalachia Educational Laboratory, College of William and Mary, and Virginia Education Association (1996) examine the concept of inclusion in more detail:
"Inclusion is always.
Inclusion is always a philosophical framework for educating students in heterogeneous educational settings. Student placement decisions are based on academic, social, emotional, physical, and age considerations. Professionals share their expertise in student learning processes and in curriculum content to ensure that developmentally appropriate education opportunities are provided for all students.
Inclusion is a shared responsibility among teachers, administrators, students, families, and communities to help all students become productive members of society. Teams work together to ensure that a continuum of support services, appropriate resources, and ongoing assessment procedures are provided.
Inclusion is sometimes.
Inclusion is sometimes general education teachers paired with special education teachers in coteaching and/or consultative relationships. At times, general education teachers may be paired with other specialists.
Inclusive settings ensure that all students have developmentally equal opportunities. While the time or method in which a task is undertaken may vary, an essential lesson is accessible to all students.
An inclusive placement is sometimes permanent; a student may not need to return to a more restrictive learning environment. However, a full continuum of services must be available. Interim changes in placement are expected, as changes are made in the Individualized Education Program.
Inclusion is never.
Inclusion is never mandated without appropriate support and fiscal resources (e.g., scheduled planning time for collaboration, team decisionmaking opportunities, qualified personnel, ongoing staff development, adequate facilities, etc.) to ensure student success. Inclusion will not eliminate the need for special education support and services. It should never be implemented indiscriminately without consideration of student needs and available resources." (p. 5)
For further information, refer to the Position on Inclusion (Division for Early Childhood, Council for Exceptional Children, 1993), adopted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.