Dispelling the Myths About Inclusion (Jan. 2017)

As an educator or parent, has there ever been a time that you have heard the term co-teaching and inclusion used synonymously? If so, this may be a problem; as co-teaching and inclusion are not one in the same. In fact to hear them used interchangeably may indicate some misconceptions about how to implement effective inclusive practices. There are several myths about inclusion that will be discussed in this article. I am hopeful that it will bring clarity to us all.

Myth #1 
Inclusion is the law. Actually IDEA never mentions the term inclusion. It however, does imply that we are to be inclusive.

IDEA discusses Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)- “To the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities should receive their education with nondisabled peers and that students are not removed from the regular classroom unless, even with supplemental aids and services, education in the regular classroom cannot be achieved satisfactorily.”

This means that students should not be removed from the general education classroom unless the impact of their disability is so great that they can not progress and be successful in general education even with supplementary aids and services. This also means that as with everything in special education; LRE is individualized. Each students’ LRE is different, however, everyone should be afforded consideration of being educated in the general education classroom; removal from general education should be the last resort.

Myth #2 
Inclusion is the way services are delivered or is a service delivery option.

Inclusion is a belief system or philosophy that guides our practices.

While we often hear the term “inclusion class or inclusion program;” there is no such thing. This implies that inclusiveness is about where students sit each day and not about the belief system or philosophy in which they are educated. The general education classroom is important to inclusive education; however, it is only one part of effective inclusive practices.

The concept of effective inclusive practices ensures that the needs of all learners are considered in the planning and delivery of curriculum and that all persons in a school are intentional about creating access points for all students in the school environment; academically, physically and socially.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004) 

Friend, M. (2014). Co-Teach!: Building and Sustaining Effective Classroom Partnerships in Inclusive Schools.
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