According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA,) education for students with disabilities is determined on an individual basis and is provided in the least restrictive environment. The first consideration for least restrictive environment (LRE) placement for any exceptional education student is within their home school, regardless of his/her exceptional education needs. However, at times services may be provided away from their home school.
Continuum of Services
Orange County Public Schools supports services for students rather than programs. The determination of the specific needs are determined by an IEP team.
What is inclusion?
Inclusion in the regular classroom enables previously excluded students to be successful in the general education program; it can give those previously excluded students a chance to make friends and build relationships with a more representative group of their peers. Inclusion allows all students to be challenged by high expectations, and offers more opportunities for all to learn tolerance and compassion. More than anything else, however, inclusion sends the message to children, to school personnel, and to the community that each individual is a valued member of society, and that each one has a unique and valuable contribution to make to the complex fabric of society.
Inclusion is a way of thinking about learning. Real inclusion means students with disabilities have access to the general education curriculum, classrooms, and other typical school settings and activities. Inclusion is not expecting all children to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way. The two federal laws that govern ethe education of children with disabilities do not require inclusion, but both require that a significant effort be made to find an inclusive placement. IDEA requires education in the “least restrictive environment appropriate” to meet their “unique needs.” Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires disabled children to be educated with the non-disabled to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the disabled child.
As exceptional educators and general educators look at student needs and strengths, keep in mind that there is a continuum of services. For students who are participating in the Sunshine State Standards for Standard Diploma, teachers may recommend consultation, peer support, support facilitation, a co-taught class, or specific instruction in the resource room.
Consultation – General Education and Exceptional Student Education (ESE) teacher meet regularly to plan, implement, and monitor instruction methods designed to ensure success for students with disabilities. ESE teachers are required to maintain detailed records of the teachers and students they serve.
Often, students benefit from support of general education peer who can assist with physical, social or classroom needs. A peer may also provide instructional tutoring with teacher direction.
Support Facilitation - An Exceptional Student Education (ESE) teacher provides direct support for students with disabilities in the general education classroom. Support facilitators may work and move among two or more general education classrooms, working with general education teachers and assisting all students. The frequency and intensity of support varies based upon students’ and/or general educators’ need for assistance.
Co-Teaching - Two teachers, one ESE and on general education, share responsibilities for planning, delivering, and assessing learning for all students, with or without disabilities, in a class. Co-teaching means both teachers work together for the entire period a class is taught.
Some ESE students may require a more specialized support in a resource room. This is where the ESE teacher provides specific explicit instruction in a setting other than the general education classroom of a period of the day.
Within this continuum of services teachers, continue to receive training in specific instructional models in order to match the classroom instruction to the specific instruction needs of the students. With support and intervention, students with specific learning disabilities can be successful in general education.