Inclusive Education

Toward Realizing the Influence of ‘Toward Realization of the Least Restrictive Educational Environments for Severely Handicapped Students'

This paper re-examines the findings of a 1977 paper by Brown and colleagues titled Toward the Realization of the Least Restrictive Educational Environment for severely handicapped students. Since this article was published, hundreds of rigorous research studies have been undertaken to determine the effectiveness of integrating and including students with severe disabilities. In this comprehensive review of the existing literature, the authors are unable to identify even a single research article that found segregated service delivery models to be more effective than integrated models for students with severe disabilities. In fact, all the research is supporting an integrated and inclusive service delivery model.

Falvey, Mary A. “Toward Realizing the Influence of ‘Toward Realization of the Least Restrictive Educational Environments for Severely Handicapped Students.’” Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities 29, no. 1 (March 2004): 9–10.

Call to Action for the Texas Educator

Review the Individualized Education Program schedule page for all your students.

Are there any opportunities to increase their time in general education settings?

What types of support will the student require to participate in more inclusive settings?

A summary of the evidence on inclusive education

In this report, we sought to identify research that demonstrates the benefits of inclusive education not only for students with disabilities but especially for students without disabilities, since evidence of benefits for the former is already widely known. This report is the result of a systematic review of 280 studies from 25 countries. Eighty-nine of the studies provided relevant scientific evidence and were synthesized and summarized below. There is clear and consistent evidence that inclusive educational settings can confer substantial short- and long-term benefits for students with and without disabilities. A large body of research indicates that included students develop stronger skills in reading and mathematics, have higher rates of attendance, are less likely to have behavioral problems, and are more likely to complete secondary school than students who have not been included. As adults, students with disabilities who have been included are more likely to be enrolled in postsecondary education and to be employed or living independently. Among children with Down syndrome, there is evidence that the amount of time spent with typically developing peers is associated with a range of academic and social benefits, such as improved memory and stronger language and literacy skills.

Hehir, T., Grindal, T., Freeman, B., Lamoreau, R., Borquaye, Y., & Burke, S. A summary of the evidence on inclusive education. Sao Paulo, Brazil: Alana Institute. 2016.

Call to Action for the Texas Educator

Check out the online resource Inclusionary Coaching Guide from TX CAN.

The dynamic relationship between context, curriculum, and student learning: A case for inclusive education as a research-based practice

This article used theory, historical records, and empirical research to make a case that inclusive education, in which students experience significant proportions of their day in the age-appropriate contexts and curriculum of general education, is a research-based practice with students who have extensive support needs. We begin by noting that there are regressive trends occurring in educational placements in our country and that these are causing alarm. Next, we establish guidelines for defining a useful, research-based practice. These guidelines include considering what education should be achieving for all students as a standard and using a view of scientific causality that acknowledges complexity. We then show how constructs from ecological theory and group processes theory, which provide accounts for human growth and learning, relate to the location of educational services (i.e., context) and curriculum (i.e., content) decisions. Throughout this discussion, we show educating students using an inclusive education approach is supported by these constructs, whereas other approaches widely used special education are not. We then review both historical and empirical data from institutions and schools and show that these data provide empirical support for the primary theoretical position of this article that context, together with curriculum content matter, crucially when educating students with extensive support needs. We concluded that there is theoretical and empirical support for using general education contexts and curriculum content and for not using other contexts and curriculum content both in educating students with extensive support needs and in conducting related research.

Jackson, L.B., Ryndak, D. L., & Wehmeyer, M. L. The dynamic relationship between context, curriculum, and student learning: A case for inclusive education as a research-based practice. Research & Practice for Students with Severe Disabilities 34, no. 1 (2008): 175-195.

Call to Action for the Texas Educator

Partner and work closely with general education teachers to provide students with complex access needs appropriate participation in general settings and with general education materials modified to meet student needs.

You might also consider participating in the TX CAN online courses in the Putting Inclusion into Practice for Students with Complex Access Needs series.