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What is inclusive education?


Updated March 14, 2012

Question: What is inclusive education?
A description of what inclusive education is, and how it meets the needs of special education students.

An inclusive education is one that gives disabled children an opportunity to interact with a community of teachers and able-bodied students in a normal school environment. It is different from a "mainstream" education because there is no differentiation between general education and special education.

There are two subcategories of an inclusive education: full inclusion and partial or regular inclusion.

Regular or partial inclusion means that the child is in all of the normal classes in which able-bodied students participate, with the exception of special education that would otherwise be disruptive to the rest of the class. Examples include speech therapy or physical education.

Full inclusion schools allow disabled students to spend all of their time in an able-bodied student environment, regardless of their disability. Full inclusion schools are rare due in part to finding teachers who are certified to work with the disabled student population, and concerns that the able-bodied students would be held back so that the disabled students would receive the support they need.

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