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individualized education program (IEP)

a document that is man- dated for every student with a disability (ages three to twenty-one) by PL 94-142. The IEP is the blueprint for the services the child receives and must be developed every year. It describes the child’s current level of functioning and includes short- and long- term goals and objectives. Parents must approve all IEPs.

individualized family service plan (IFSP)

similar to an IEP. The IFSP describes services for very young children with disabilities (ages 0–3) and their families. The IFSP is mandated by PL 99-457. The IFSP is written collab- oratively and describes the child’s current strengths and needs. The IFSP describes what services will be provid- ed and the major expected outcomes. Plans for the transition at age three are also included in the IFSP.

Early Intervention and Public Policy

The experience of inclusion varies from child to child and from family to family. The goal is to create a match between the program and the child and family. Inclusive classrooms are caring communities that support the ongo- ing development of participants (Salisbury, Palombaro, & Hollowood, 1993). Inclusion requires planning, teamwork, and support. “Our values and beliefs will help dene our experience with inclusion; in turn, our experience will shape future values and beliefs” (Odom et al., 1996).

The outcomes observed and reported by the parents and teachers of children in inclusive educational programs are broad based and holistic. These outcomes include some of the developmental changes observed in segregated special edu- cation programs (e.g., improved communication skills, improved motor skills). They also include important changes in social behavior and a general sense of belonging. Many parents of children in inclusive educational programs report that their child received his or her rst invitation to a birthday party or to play at a friend’s house after being involved in inclusive education. Some parents report that they feel more included in the community because their child is attending a “regular” school.

Billingsley et al. (1996) propose three outcomes of inclusive education.These three interrelated concepts are membership, relationships, and development.

Membership includes the child’s interactions with groups: being a member of a class, being a member of a small group within a class, and being a member of non-school-related groups (e.g., children’s choir at church). The dening cri- terion is that other members of the group are willing to make accommodations for the child with disabilities to support inclusion and membership.

The relationships concept looks at the different roles that children play in their interactions with peers. For example, in the majority of interactions with peers, is the child with disabilities receiving help? Does the child with disabili- ties have opportunities to be in the role of helping other children? Are there reciprocal or play and companionship types of interaction? Looking at relation- ships this way allows us to provide useful descriptions of the peers in the child’s social network.

The development concept looks at more traditional types of early childhood special education outcomes: changes in participation in classroom routine and rituals, changes in social-communicative behavior, changes in functional skills, changes in pre-academic skills, and other goals that are included on a child’s individualized education program (IEP) or individualized family service plan (IFSP) and plan for the unique outcomes found in inclusive educational settings. This outcome framework also can be used to guide the development of goals and objectives for inclusive educational programs. (See the discussion of IFSP and IEP development in Chapter 10.)

The Division for Early Childhood and the National Association for the Education of Young Children recently approved a joint position statement. Early Childhood Inclusion: A Joint Position Statement of the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) provides a shared national denition of inclusion. The document was developed through a collaborative national process that NPDCI

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