"A child is a gift whose worth cannot be measured except by the heart"

Theresa Ann Hunt



Least Restrictive Environment (LRE):

LRE is the requirement in federal law that children with disabilities receive their education, to the maximum extent appropriate, with nondisabled peers and that special education pupils are not removed from regular classes unless, even with supplemental aides and services, education in regular classes cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

Least Restrictive Environment: Application of the Law Click on link to the left to learn more.

Least Restrictive Environment: Rights Click on link to the left to learn more.



Mainstreaming refers to placement of a student with disabilities into ongoing activities of regular classrooms so that the student receives education with nondisabled peers- even if special education staff must provide supplementary resource services.



Integration includes mainstreaming into regular classes and access to, inclusion and participation in activities of the total school environment.

Best Practice
What It Does NOT Look Like

The student attends the same school he/she would attend if he/she did not have a disability.

The student rides the same bus the neighborhood students ride. The student is in a grade level with peers of the same chronological age, plus or minus 1-2 years.

The student attends a school other than the one attended by siblings or neighbors.

The student does not ride the same bus with siblings or neighbors.

The student is more than two years older than classmates.

The next school year the student will move to the next grade with his/her classmates and friends
The student repeats a grade or is assigned to a cross-age special education class

The student uses the same entrance as classmates.

The student has space for personal belongings in the same areas as classmates (lockers, coat hooks, etc.)

Student uses accessible entrance not used by other children.

Student keeps belongs like coats and backpacks in a separate area/room

The student uses similar school supplies (book bags, highlighters, notebooks)

The student wears similar clothing/accessories (hair jewelry, friendship bracelets, cool T-shirts)

Student uses/wears age-inappropriate materials/clothing/accessories so that he/she stands out from classmates. (lunch boxes with a "younger" theme, diaper bags, etc.

The student has artwork and special honors displayed with and in the same manner as classmates

The student has photographs interspersed in the yearbook, newsletter, or class photograph.

Student's name does not appear in any school publication, recognition program or display. If the student's name or photo does appear it is always identified with special education. (Special Olympics, Special Friends, Lunch Buddy Program)
Each semester the student has a choice of electives in his/her schedule if this is an option for other students.
The student is assigned to classes by teachers or parents. It is assumed that because one student with a disability likes/ did well in an elective, then every student with a disability will also like that elective.

Participates (goes with/sits with) in special school events (field trips, assemblies, pep rallies)

Participates in "regular" extracurricular activities (stamp club, swimming, concerts, Boy Scouts)

Student does not have an opportunity to participate outside the classroom. When opportunities for participation arise, the student typically sits with a group of other students with a disability, and not with a heterogeneous group of students.
Student is included in student counts according to regular education homeroom membership. (Milk counts, roll call, bulletin boards, called up for bus lines)
The student is a visitor in the general education classroom. His/Her name is only included in the special education room roster, and all counts generate from this room.



Full Inclusion:

Fill inclusion refers to the total integration of a student with disabilities into the regular education program- with special support.

What is Inclusion for All Students?

What Inclusion is Not


Reverse Mainstreaming:

Reverse mainstreaming refers to the practice of giving a student who is placed at a segregated school site, in a segregated classroom, the opportunity to interact with nondisabled children.



Integration is IEP driven. Reevaluate time spent in integration on an ongoing basis.




1) Find out who your school contact will be,

2) Make direct contact with teachers at your grade level,

3) Conference with the selected integrated classroom teacher,

4) Inquire about integrated schools expectations of your students

5) Set up a time to give the classroom disability awareness in-service,

6) Prepare your student for new class setting.


Important facts integrated staff may need to know:

1) That your special needs students are your responsibility,

2) You will be there to help facilitate and modify curriculum as needed,

3) Goals for students that are integrated into their classroom,

4) Medical history (seizures, behavior plans, allergies, syndromes, etc).

5) Be careful about confidential information.


Scheduling Integration

Find out what the integrated class schedule is and match the best time for integration according to the goals of the student.



Procedures for setting up integration may vary depending on the district/school you are integrating students into. Always inform your principal and on-site personnel about integration plans.



Parents role in integration:

1) Students integration schedule

2) Campus/classroom rules

3) Dress code,

4) Acceptable hygiene

5) Discipline policy

6) Additional parental responsibilities (snack, fund raiser, class trip, projects etc.)



Once the integration program is set up and successfully running, the aides can assist in covering the time integrated. Be sure to train them and make sure they understand the goals of the student and support needed. Staff members should follow site dress code.



Community integration is an important learning tool for instruction. Goals should be reviewed prior to planning a community outing. Once you are on an outing, be aware the eyes of the community are watching your every move and may not understand some of your behavior procedures. Be mindful of the actions you and your students are engaged in.


Community Bag (items to take):

Student name badges, emergency forms, tissues, wipes, gloves etc.

Locations Around Town

Trips selected should be age appropriate and meet the objectives that have been established. It is not necessary to take your entire class out into the community every time.



  • Integration- Copy either the entire CODE number or title of the law and paste into the search engine when you click on TO CDE DATABASE
  • CODE # ..................TITLE OF LAW
  • 30 EC 56460 - Legislative Findings and Declarations About Transition Services
  • 5 CCR 3043 - Extended School Year Services
  • 5 CCR 3051.15 - Recreation Services
  • 5 CCR 3065 - Staff Qualifications - Related Services including Designated Instruction and Services


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