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enrolling children with dis- abilities along with typically developing children in the same classroom.


children with disabilities and typically developing chil- dren enrolled in the same program.

reverse mainstreaming

special education classes that also include some typi- cally developing children.

integrated special education

including a few typically developing children in classes where the majority of children have special needs.

1 The emphasis in inclusive education is on providing the support necessary so that children can participate.

Early Intervention and Public Policy

For more than three decades, parents and professionals have been work- ing to provide free and appropriate education for all children in the least restrictive environment. The rst attempt at implementing this vision was called mainstreaming.

The term integration also has been used to describe the inclusion of children with disabilities in programs for typically developing children.

Some educators argue that there are clear-cut differences between integra- tion and mainstreaming; others use the terms interchangeably. Both terms refer to children with disabilities being placed in full-time or part-time programs designed for typically developing children. You may also encounter the terms reverse mainstreaming or integrated special education. These terms are used to describe special education classes that also include some typically de- veloping children. In a reverse mainstreaming or integrated special education class, the majority of the children have identied special needs, the lead teacher has special education training, and only one-quarter to one-third of the children are typically developing.

The difference between mainstreaming and inclusion is philosophical. In mainstreaming, children with disabilities had to “be ready” to be integrated into the mainstream. The emphasis was placed on helping the child with dis- abilities meet the existing expectations of the classroom. Often the child with disabilities was regarded as a visitor in the classroom and was actually assigned (according to school records) to a special education class (Schorr, 1990). In inclusive education, children with disabilities are full-time members of the gen- eral education classroom. The emphasis in inclusive education is on providing the support necessary so that the children can participate in ongoing classroom activities. Support may include adaptation of the curriculum, materials, or instructional practices. Support may also include additional staff, consultation,

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