Inclusive Practice Overview
The term "inclusion" is not mentioned in the federal law. However IDEA 2004 continues to require provision of a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment to all children with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21.
Least restrictive environment (LRE) means that “To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.” (Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004)[TITLE I / B / 612 / a / 5].
Inclusion means bringing the support services to the student rather than moving the student out of the general education setting to receive special education and related services. Full inclusion means that the student is included with his or her regular education peers throughout the school day. Related service providers need to think about services using the LRE mandate as a guide. OT intervention is provided within the natural routines and activities of the classroom/school day whenever possible (LRE). The occupational therapist is obligated and challenged to provide contextually-based services where and when the student is having difficulty and to work collaboratively with the teacher and other adults so that they can better understand and support the student for greater success in school. Occupational therapy intervention provided on behalf of students in the inclusive school setting may be directed toward the student, regular and special education teachers, other related service providers, paraprofessionals, other involved adults, and parents.