Inclusion in School—Autism Toolkit
What Inclusion Means for Students
Inclusion in school means students with disabilities learn and participate alongside their peers without disabilities. Inclusion may look different for each student. It should be guided by student needs and include supports, if needed, to promote success. Inclusion is not just about education in the classroom. It includes chances to be part of activities before, during, and after school with nondisabled peers. This may include clubs, committees, or sports teams. It is important to focus on the needs of the student and encourage inclusive chances in which she can be successful.
Understanding "Least Restrictive Environment"
Public law requires that children and youths with disabilities are educated with their nondisabled peers as much as possible. It also states that taking children out of a regular classroom and putting them in special classes is allowed only if they are not making good progress in the regular class.
Factors to Consider
Special education is not a "place" but a coordinated offering of services. The most important part of learning is
The best instruction for a child with ASD gives many chances to practice targeted skills until he learns the skills. The best programs are those that measure your child's progress by collecting data on the targeted (or desired) skills. This way the professionals teaching the skills know if the method is effective for your child. Data-driven programs that give your child structure and support the development of communication skills are the most likely to lead to success.
Middle School Versus High School
In middle and high school, the concept of inclusion is the same as in elementary school. However, because class schedules become more complicated in middle and high school, the way a child or youth is included may change as she transitions into higher grades. Some children and youths may be able to continue to participate in regular education classes, such as math, reading, science, and social studies. Others may be included for part of their school day in classes often referred to as
Although there may be more educational opportunities for inclusion in high school, it is important to also think about classes that support the development of social and life skills. Some students with ASD may do well academically, but having trouble with life skills can affect their ability to go to college, keep a job, and live independently. Working on life skills such as self-care, communication skills, job skills, safety, and advocating for themselves can help students with ASD. It is important to keep considering each year if inclusion is helping your child. It may depend on the class and the school. Some children with ASD are upset with changes and do better learning in a single special education class. Other children may be upset by or copy behavior of other students in a specialized class and do better with inclusion.
Focusing on the End Goal
According to a