Publication Date

Fall 11-30-2011


School of Education


Integrated Studies: Special Education--Teacher Certification; Integrated Studies: Elementary--Teacher Certification

Primary Subject Area

Education, Special


full inclusion, autism spectrum disorders, special education


Disability and Equity in Education | Special Education and Teaching


In the contemporary educational system, the issue of full inclusion has brought about much discussion and debate. Because the principle of the least restrictive environment (LRE) mandates that students with special needs should have the opportunity to be educated with non-disabled peers to the greatest extent appropriate, the necessary components of inclusion impact all educational circles without exception. In fully inclusive settings, students with disabilities are provided with the services and supports appropriate to their individual needs within the general education classroom. Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are defined as neurodevelopmental disorders resulting in impairments in communication and social interaction. In order for children with autism to be successful in general education settings, a number of carefully planned interventions must be established. In many instances, the LRE for children with autism is a fully inclusive general education classroom. Because ASD occurs on a continuum and encompasses a wide range of exceptionalities, however, education in a traditional classroom setting may not always be appropriate. In some instances, the LRE is, in fact, the special education class. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not a child will be placed in an inclusive classroom should be made on an individual, case-by-case basis.