Systematic Planning for Inclusion

By: MaryAnn Demchak

In order for successful inclusion to occur, systematic planning must occur at the beginning of the student's placement in the general education class. The following steps can provide structure to that planning process.

  1. Identify student's learning needs/objectives from his/her IEP.
  2. Review classroom strengths/limitations (e.g., physical layout, teacher style, etc.).
  3. Identify classroom schedule/activities.
  4. Develop matrix meshing student needs with classroom activities. That is, a matrix is developed with students IEP objectives listed vertically on the left side and the general education classroom schedule listed horizontally across the top of the matrix. The team then reviews the objectives and schedule to determine when within the IEP objectives can be addressed.
  5. Identify supports needed so that the objectives can be addressed. For example, the team may review the schedule and activities to determine if adaptations are needed to the materials, environment, or instruction. The student should be encouraged to participate partially or to participate in parallel activities if not able to complete the task to the full degree or if unable to meet the requirements of the task. Personal assistance in the form of peer support, teacher assistant, assistance from older students in the school, or aid from related services personnel may serve as support to facilitate the successful inclusion.
  6. Develop communication system between special education teacher and general education teacher. The general education teacher will have questions and should be encouraged to voice them. The special education teacher should encourage open communication lines with the general education teacher by establishing some type of a mail system for questions and answers when the special education teacher is not available/accessible to the general education teacher.

The special education teacher should provide ongoing support to the general education teacher. The special education teacher must continue to collaborate with the general education teacher and continue to be directly involved with the student. Implement ongoing monitoring to identify modifications that may be needed. As part of ongoing support, the team may reconvene to identify further modifications or assistance that may be needed to continue to ensure that the student with disabilities is successful in the general education classroom.

Implementation of this process enhances the likelihood that the benefits of inclusion will be realized for both students with disabilities and those without disabilities.