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Education and Disability Research Paper

Autor:   •  October 27, 2015  •  Research Paper  •  1,595 Words (7 Pages)  •  470 Views

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There are many debated issues surrounding disability in society today. One of those issues concerns education and to what extent society should accommodate those living with a learning and/or physical disability. Numerous regulations have been made within school systems and our legal system that have a direct impact on a disabled student’s life experiences. It is the responsible of society to monitor and reevaluate these regulations to ensure their implementation is securing the best case scenario for all involved.

One issue surrounding education for disabled students is choosing how to place them into mainstreamed, inclusive, or fully inclusive classrooms with non-disabled students. Mainstreaming refers to special education students being placed in one or more general education class in addition to their special education classes (Schultz, 2007). After testing and evaluations, students are mainstreamed as long as they demonstrate the ability to keep up with the regular class curriculum. Inclusion refers to educating students to the most appropriate maximum range, involving support services being brought to the student rather than removing the student from class to participate in the service.  Full inclusion entails placing disabled students in a regular classroom full time, regardless of their disability.

The Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is an amendment to Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which was first enacted in 1994, requiring schools to implement State and Federal educational regulations for students with disabilities (Mills, 1998). Additional amendments were made to IDEA in 1997 which significantly strengthened the declaration of schools implementing LRE requirements. The main vocal point of LRE is to provide Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in a least restrictive environment that is most appropriate to each student’s needs (U.S. Department of Education, nd). The U.S. Dept. Education explains the intentions of this federal law as: "...to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities including children in public or private institutions or care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled; and special classes, separate schooling or other removal of children with disabilities from regular educational environment occurs only if 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."

Throughout history statutes, state regulations, and case laws have all influenced LRE regulations. Determining the appropriate placement for each child, however, is up to the discretion of school officials, albeit the child’s parents are involved throughout each stage of the process. In conjunction with LRE, school officials are required to develop an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) which adapts to the educational needs of each individual student. Although the LRE principle does not specifically state to what degree a least restrictive environment is, it does state that students should be considered in being placed into regular education classes if the student is able to receive satisfactory education in such environment.

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