Welcome to the Special Education Office within the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) is an important part of a child’s education and is a right under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA, 2004).
The Core of IDEA’s LRE Provisions
IDEA’s LRE provisions are found at §§300.114 through 300.117.
Each public agency must ensure that:
(i) To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled; and
(ii) Special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. [§300.114(a]
Continuum of Placement
Having a continuum of placements available “is intended to ensure that a child with a disability is served in a setting where the child can be educated successfully in the LRE” (71 Fed. Reg. 46587). It also reinforces the importance of the individualized inquiry in determining what placement is the LRE for each child with a disability (Id.). As such, the requirement for a continuum of alternative placements supports the fact that determining LRE must be done on an individualized basis, considering “each child’s unique educational needs and circumstances, rather than by the child’s category of disability, and be based on the child’s IEP” (71 Fed. Reg. 46586).
This is why schools have been, and still are, required to ensure that “a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services” [§300.115(a)]. These placement options include:
■hospitals and institutions
While it may be true that seeking the least restrictive environment is beneficial for children with disabilities, it's important to consider whether or not an option such as inclusion is right for every child. It may or may not be more appropriate for a child to be placed in a special education program, in a school for children with special needs, or in a home instruction program.
Considering the Meaning of “Regular Educational Environment”
The use of the term “regular educational environment” is longstanding in IDEA’s regulations. In response to a public comment on the scope of the LRE provision, the Department explained that the term “encompasses regular classrooms and other settings in schools such as lunchrooms and playgrounds in which children without disabilities participate” (71 Fed. Reg. 46585).
The settings in a school where children without disabilities participate are many and varied; all are considered part of the “regular educational environment.”
|Co-Teaching and Inclusion Videos|
|Including Samuel Video||Co Teaching Strategies video||Differentiated Instruction video|
|An example of Bad Co Teaching video||Secondary Inclusion video|
Co-teaching is a service delivery model.
Co-teaching exists as a means for providing the specially designed instruction to which students with disabilities are entitled while ensuring access to general curriculum in the least restrictive environment with the provision of supplementary aids and services.
· Two or more professionals with equivalent licensure and employment status are the participants in co-teaching.
· Co-teachers share instructional responsibility and accountability for a single group of students for whom they both have ownership.
· Both educators contribute to instruction as part of co-teaching. Perhaps the most significant re-conceptualization critical for co-teaching is the notion of a two-teacher classroom--rather than a one-teacher classroom with “help” available from the other teacher.
· Co-taught classes are highly interactive places with high levels of student engagement.
· Co-teachers need to outline roles and responsibilities so that both professionals do have meaningful roles.
Marilyn Friend – Co Teach (Co-Teach basics)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (links teacher/parent information about LRE)
Learning Disabilities Association of America (LRE for LD students)
Autism Speaks (child’s rights)
Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC) (readings and links)
Parent Education Network (PEN) (readings and links)
Kids together (readings and links)