You are on page 1of 6

Least restrictive environment is identified in the U.S.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as one of the six principles that govern the education of students with disabilities and other special needs. By law, schools are required to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment that is appropriate to the individual student's needs. "Least restrictive environment" (LRE) means that a student who has a disability should have the opportunity to be educated with non-disabled peers, to the greatest extent appropriate. They should have access to the general education curriculum, or any other program that non-disabled peers would be able to access. The student should be provided with supplementary aids and services necessary to achieve educational goals if placed in a setting with non-disabled peers. Academically, a resource room may be available within the school for specialized instruction, with typically no more than two hours per day of services for a student with learning disabilities.[1]Should the nature or severity of his or her disability prevent the student from achieving these goals in a regular education setting, then the student would be placed in a more restrictive environment, such as a special school, classroom within the current school, or a hospital program. Generally, the less opportunity a student has to interact and learn with non-disabled peers, the more the placement is considered to be restricted. To determine what an appropriate setting is for a student, a team will review the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and needs, and consider the educational benefits from placement in any particular educational setting. With the differences in needs varying broadly, there is no single definition of what an LRE will be, and each student has an Individual Education Plan (IEP).

Least Restrictive Environment, Mainstreaming, and Inclusion

Collect It!
Email By M.L. Yell Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall

The terms least restrictive environment, inclusion, and mainstreaming are often used interchangeably. They are not, however, synonymous concepts. Least restrictive environment refers to the IDEA’s mandate that students with disabilities should be educated to the maximum extent appropriate with peers without disabilities. The LRE mandate ensures that schools educate students with disabilities in integrated settings, alongside students with and without disabilities, to the maximum extent appropriate. Least restrictive environment is not a particular setting. Champagne (1993) defines restrictiveness as “a gauge of the degree of opportunity a person has for proximity to, and communication with, the ordinary flow of persons in our society” (p. 5). In special education, this means that a student with disabilities has the right to be educated with students in the general education environment. The general education environment is considered the least restrictive setting because it is the placement in which there is the greatest measure of opportunity for proximity and communication with the “ordinary flow” of students in schools.

the less a placement resembles the general education environment. the law anticipates that placements in more restrictive settings may sometimes be necessary to provide an appropriate education. tend to use the terms synonymously. 1992). is rebuttable. so long as the appropriate program can be provided in that setting. and that special classes. children with disabilities. the LRE mandate also requires that before students with disabilities are placed in more restrictive settings. Inclusion generally connotes more comprehensive programming than the somewhat dated term mainstreaming. Florence County School District Four (1991): Under the IDEA. are educated with children who are not disabled. 156) The LRE Mandate The IDEA requires that. This presumptive right. § 1412) There are two parts to the LRE requirement of the IDEA. students with disabilities be educated in settings with children without disabilities. to the maximum extent appropriate. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Carter v. It is only when an appropriate . that is. a student with disabilities should be placed in the general education environment. Appropriateness entails an education that will provide meaningful benefit for a student. (p. (IDEA. however. 2002). however.C. Inclusion refers to placement of students with disabilities in the general education classroom with peers without disabilities. Clearly. The IDEA favors integration. mainstreaming is a policy to be pursued so long as it is consistent with the Act’s primary goal of providing disabled students with an appropriate education. it is not required in all cases. Where necessary for educational reasons. To ensure that schools make good faith efforts to educate students in less restrictive settings.S. Mainstreaming and inclusion are narrower terms than least restrictive environment (McColl.. The first addresses the presumptive right of all students with disabilities to be educated with students without disabilities. 1996). Specifically a student with disabilities has the right to be educated in a setting that is not overly restrictive considering what is appropriate for that student. when appropriate. When the educational program is appropriate.From this perspective. or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. Although placement in the general education classroom may be the LRE for some students with disabilities. This view was also expressed by the U. including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities. The courts.e. but recognizes that for some students more restrictive or segregated settings may be appropriate. separate schooling. the more restrictive it is considered (Gorn. 20 U.S. efforts must first be made to maintain a student in less restrictive settings with the use of supplementary aids and services. Schools must make good faith efforts to place and maintain students in less restrictive settings. The IDEA requires mainstreaming or inclusion when the general education classroom setting can provide an appropriate education. the principle sets forth a general rule of conduct (i. mainstreaming assumes a subordinate role in formulating an educational program. integration) but allows it to be rebutted when integration is not appropriate for a student (Turnbull & Turnbull. Specifically the law provides that. or as close to it as is feasible.

Continuum of Alternative Placements Senator Stafford (1978). even with supplementary aids and services. cannot be provided. and instruction in hospitals and institutions). 1991. must: • Include the alternative placements. Rowley (1982). in Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson School District v. the IDEA requires that school districts have a range or continuum of alternative placement options to meet their needs. special classes. an original sponsor of the IDEA. 34 C. placements in more restrictive settings would be required to provide an appropriate education.S. § 300. . . The U. that students with disabilities may be placed in more restrictive settings. Each [school district] shall ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services The continuum required. . (IDEA Regulations. (instruction in regular classes. interpreted congressional intent similarly: Despite this preference for “mainstreaming” handicapped children—educating them with nonhandicapped children—Congress recognized that regular education simply would not be a suitable setting for the education of many handicapped children. For these students. the act thus provides for the education of some handicapped children in separate classes or institutional settings. Gorn. and Make provision for supplementary services (such as resource room or itinerant instruction) to be provided in conjunction with regular class placement.R. private schools.S.F. home instruction. To ensure that students with disabilities are educated in the LRE that is most appropriate for their individual needs. p. 214).551) 2. (p. States are required to ensure that teachers and administrators in all public schools are fully informed about the requirements of the LRE provision and are provided with the technical assistance and training necessary to assist them in this effort. The continuum represents an entire spectrum of placements where a student’s special education program can be implemented (Bartlett. Supreme Court. stated that Congress included the LRE principle in the law in recognition that for some students an education in the general education classroom would not be appropriate. . Regulations require that 1. . 1996). and other care facilities. Department of Education also recognized “that some children with disabilities may require placement in settings other than the general education classroom in order to be provided with an education designed to address their unique needs” (Letter to Goodling. • . special schools. . 192) The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) of the U. The IDEA further requires that state educational agencies ensure that the LRE requirement extends to students in public schools.

This does not mean that each school district must provide for a complete continuum within its own boundaries. In such cases. The regulations implementing the IDEA require that the various alternative placements in the continuum of placements “are to be available to the extent necessary to implement the individualized education program” (IDEA Regulations. Moreover.F. for purposes of the continuum.e. A school district may not refuse to place a child in an LRE because it lacks the appropriate placement option (Tucker & Goldstein. . OSERS has emphasized the importance of school districts’ maintaining a continuum of placements “in order to be properly prepared to address the individual needs of all children with disabilities” (Letter to Frost. 594).. 1993). When the educational needs of a student cannot be met in district programs. by proximity to the general education classroom. Education in the least restrictive setting (i. § 300. 1992). This may necessitate the district’s sending the student to another school (public or private) that provides the needed placement. 34 C. the neighborhood school district retains financial responsibility for the student’s education.552(b)). Pennsylvania. however.The purpose of the continuum is to allow school personnel to choose from a number of options in determining the LRE most appropriate for the student. the district must fill them through whatever means are required (e. the district is obligated to provide a placement where the student’s needs can be met. If a student cannot receive a meaningful education in the general education classroom. is required..R. another placement. if gaps in the continuum exist within a school district. If the local school district is unable to provide the appropriate placement. The IEP team determines the placement along this continuum that is the least restrictive setting in which a student will receive an appropriate education. 1991.g. the general education classroom) is the preferred option so long as it is consistent with an appropriate education. the state may bear the responsibility of ensuring the establishment and availability of a continuum of alternative placements (Cordero v. consortium-type arrangements). in which the student will receive a meaningful education. Restrictiveness is defined. p.

weakened. • A classification of poor water quality for a surface water body under the U. see Disabilities (Jewish). whether permanent or temporary. psychological. a downward revaluation of fixed assets In health. emotional. activity limitations. A disability may be present from birth. "Disabilities" redirects here. For the Middle Age restrictions. while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by . developmental or some combination of these. Identifying impairments that contribute to a functional problem for a patient is a key factor for a health professional to determine appropriate treatment. mental. especially mentally or physic ally: cognitiveimpairment in older adults. the free encyclopedia Impairment may refer to: • • • A medical condition that leads to disability In accounting. covering impairments. Clean Water Act im·pair·ment [im-pair-muh nt] Show IPA noun the state of being diminished. or damaged. sensory. an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action. or anatomical structure or function.S. For the poem by Wilfred Owen. and participation restrictions. any loss or abnormality of physiological.Impairment From Wikipedia. Disabilities is an umbrella term. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure. cognitive. A disability may be physical. or occur during a person's lifetime. "Disabled" redirects here. see Disabled (poem).

Thus disability is a complex phenomenon.[2] . Such impairments may include physical. sensory. reflecting an interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives. arguing that it is more appropriate to consider them developmental differences that have been unfairly stigmatized by society. [1] An individual may also qualify as disabled if he/she has had an impairment in the past or is seen as disabled based on a personal or group standard or norm. Mental disorders(also known as psychiatric or psychosocial disability) and various types of chronic disease may also qualify as disabilities. Some advocates object to describing certain conditions (notably deafness and autism) as "disabilities".an individual in involvement in life situations. and cognitive or developmental disabilities.