Inclusion And Inclusion In Education

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In 1975 Congress enacted the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in order to ensure that children with disabilities are provided with Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) that tailors to their individual needs. One of IDEA’s six principles, the principle of the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), states that after a student with a disability is enrolled, evaluated, and provided with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), they are to be educated alongside their non-disabled peers to the maximum extent that is appropriate for them (Turnbull 2016, 19). This practice of integration is commonly known as “inclusion” or “mainstreaming.”
Although the terms inclusion and mainstreaming are frequently used interchangeably, it should be noted that they are different from one another. Inclusion involves “the participation of students with disabilities alongside their nondisabled peers in academic, extracurricular, and other school activities” (Turnbull 2016, 42). Mainstreaming refers to educating a child with special needs in a general education classroom during specific lessons, or specific times of the day. At other times of the day, the child with special needs may be working in a resource room or a self-contained special education classroom.
Both inclusion and mainstreaming are made possible by the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as developed by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). UDL “ensures that students with disabilities can access the

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