Characteristics of an Inclusive Environment
Many educators have identified qualities that indicate an inclusive environment. As you read through the following list, think about your place of work.
How many of these qualities already exist in your setting?
- All students are welcomed in general education. The general education class (with support) is the first option considered, regardless of disability type or severity.
- Students are educated in classes where the percentages of those with and without disabilities are proportional to those percentages in the local population (e.g., 10%-12% have identified disabilities).
- Students are educated with peers in the same age groupings available to those without disability labels.
- Students with varying characteristics and abilities participate in shared educational experiences while pursuing individually appropriate learning outcomes with necessary supports and accommodations.
- Shared educational experiences take place in settings predominantly frequented by people without disabilities (e.g., general education classrooms, community work sites).
- Educational experiences are designed to enhance individually determined outcomes for students and seek individualized balance between the academic/functional and social/ personal aspects of schooling.
- Students receive typically available supports such as classroom teachers, classmates, and school counselors (sometimes referred to as "natural supports") and specialized supports such as special educators, and therapists only as needed.
- Inclusive education exists when each of the previously listed characteristics occurs on an ongoing, daily basis.
Information in this unit is used with permission from:
CichoskiKelly, E., Backus, L., Giangreco, M. F., Sherman-
Tucker, P. (2000). Paraeducator Entry-Level Training for Supporting
Students with Disabilities. Stillwater, OK: National Clearing House
of Rehabilitation Training Materials