March is one of ARC’s favorite months, because we get to celebrate awareness of various developmental disabilities topics. This week, the theme is “Learning Side by Side,” which takes a closer look at inclusive education. Research shows that both students with and without disabilities benefit from inclusive educational settings. Reported benefits include meaningful friendships, increased social networks, increased achievement of IEP goals, greater access to general curriculum, increased school staff collaboration, increased understanding and acceptance of diversity, greater academic outcomes, and more.*
Have you ever heard the acronym IDEA and wondered what it’s all about? Well, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates the following:
- A free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment appropriate for the students’ specific learning needs.
- A team approved Individualized Education Program (IEP) that includes current functioning levels, instructional goals and objectives, placement and services decisions, and procedures for evaluation of program effectiveness.
- A placement decision must be made on an individual basis and considered only after the development of the IEP.
- A continuum of alternative placements to meet the needs of students with disabilities for special education and related services.
- A system for the continuing education of regular and special education and related services personnel to enable these personnel to meet the needs of children with disabilities.**
See the benefits of inclusion in action!