The inclusion of students with disabilities has been an evolving process over the past forty years. Inclusion in the context of education is the practice in which students with special needs spend most, if not all, of their time with students without disabilities. The inclusion education model takes the point that all students are members of the school community. Every student in the school is entitled to the same privileges and responsibility to participate in available school activities and opportunities.
Strategies for inclusion education are widely varied. A model of the inclusion classroom places special needs students in regular classrooms. Schools with full inclusion do not distinguish between “general” and special needs education for students with disabilities. Inclusion for all in its ideal form could quickly eliminate terms such as “special needs inclusion” and schools would be restructured to eliminate physical and social barriers so all students would learn together.
Program Development Associates has been following the thought and practice of inclusion when it began distributing information on elementary inclusion and mainstreaming with the 1992 Academy Award winning documentary video “Educating Peter”. Since then we have added dozens of inclusion resources for parents, teachers, early childhood professionals, managers and administrators who support the inclusion of special needs children and require more information.