Inclusion is part of a much larger picture than just placement in the regular class within school. Inclusion is being a part of what everyone else is, being welcomed and embraced as a member who belongs It is being a part of what everyone else is, and being welcomed and embraced as a member who belongs. Inclusion can occur in schools, churches, playgrounds, work and in recreation. Kids Together, Inc.

What is inclusion?

Inclusion is not mentioned in the law- the terms “placement” and “least restrictive environment” are. As the quote above shows, inclusion is not just a classroom placement. Families are often experts in adapting and including their children in family life.

The resources here can help parents learn more about inclusion at school. A Michigan Alliance for  Families Parent Mentor is also available, contact us.

“All children with disabilities are to be educated to the maximum extent with children who do not have disabilities.” Federal Law I.D.E.A. Sec. 612.5(A)

“Inclusion is a right, not a special privilege for a select few.” Federal Court Oberti v. Board of Education

“Separate education facilities are inherently unequal.” Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education

“Schools who let one criterion, such as a specific disability, automatically determine the placement are likely to be held in violation of federal law.” Supreme Court Board of Education v. Rowley

Is my child too (fill in the blank) to be included at school?

All students can participate and learn within the general education curriculum. SWIFT Schools is a federally funded technical assistance center focused on inclusion with many great resources, Some of that research is highlighted in this SWIFT “All means all” video.

Is a segregated program better than a general education program?

“Research shows when students with different support needs learn together, they experience better academic and behavioral outcomes, social relationships, high school graduation rates, and post-school success.” – SWIFT

How do I get my child included in their school?

Placement is an IEP team decision. Parents are part of the IEP team. Be sure to visit the Michigan Alliance for Families LRE webpage.

The level of commitment districts have for inclusion varies across the state, therefore how hard it will be for an individual parent to have their child placed in the Least Restrictive Environment varies as well.

  1. Contact Michigan Alliance for Families to speak with a Parent Mentor
  2. Our School Doesn’t Offer Inclusion Kids Together
  3. IEP and Inclusion Tips for Parents and Teachers (pdf book)
  4. Including Students with Multiple/Severe Disabilities in the General Education Classroom Vanderbilt University
  5. MDE Office of Special Education Parent Line For questions related to special education or the IEP process 1-888-320-8384 or email mde-ose@michigan.gov.

If the parents disagree with the placement decision, they have recourse through procedural safeguards, which include mediation and due process procedures, as a way of resolving the conflict. A parent of a child with a disability can also file a State complaint.

 Always remember the purpose of special education…

The purpose of special education is to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a “free and appropriate public education” that emphasizes special education and related services “designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.” Special education services are provided at no cost to the parents and must be provided in the “least restrictive environment”.

Where can I learn more and get support?

Inclusion: Free Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restrictive Environment– from the Michigan Alliance for Families Webinar Series


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