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Frances Stetson, Ph.D.

What does Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) mean?

IDEA uses the term Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) to mean that to the maximum extent appropriate, school districts must educate students with disabilities in the general education classroom with appropriate aids and supports, referred to as "supplementary aids and services," with their non-disabled peers in the school they would attend if not disabled, unless a student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) requires some other arrangement.

Least Restrictive Environment and Inclusion: What is the difference?

Though IDEA does not define inclusion, section 1003.57(1)(a)2., Florida Statutes (F.S.), defines inclusion as follows:











In implementing IDEA’s LRE provisions, the regular classroom in the school the student would attend if not disabled is the first placement option considered for each disabled student before a more restrictive placement is considered (i.e., the inclusion classroom).

Inclusive education, according to its most basic definition, means that students with disabilities are educated in age-appropriate general education classes in their home schools and receive the specialized instruction identified and outlined in their individualized education plan (IEP).

A school district shall use the term “inclusion” to mean that a student is receiving education in a general education regular class setting, reflecting natural proportions and age-appropriate heterogeneous groups in core academic and elective or special areas within the school community; a student with a disability is a valued member of the classroom and school community; the teachers and administrators support universal education and have knowledge and support available to enable them to effectively teach all children; and a teacher is provided access to technical assistance in best practices, instructional methods, and supports tailored to the student’s needs based on current research.


LeDerick Horne- The Journey from a Child with a Learning Disability to a Poet and Public Speaker

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Use this tool to measure the manner in which your school implements inclusive practices. This has been developed by Stetson & Associates (2015)

The Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) has recently released a technical assistance paper (TAP) that updates previous technical assistance provided to school districts regarding the provision of services for students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment (LRE). This TAP will in addition address other considerations that must be addressed when determining the most appropriate placement for a student with a disability. It will also address issues related to service delivery and scheduling methods for students with disabilities.

-Resources for You-

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The Florida Inclusion Network offers an excellent module entitled "Building Inclusive Schools." Click on the photo (left) to watch.

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Frances Stetson, Ph.D. offers so many "a-ha" thoughts for schools to reflect upon in this handout. Click on the image to access. We recommend you utilize this handout as both a guidance document and a shared read for reflection at your next staff meeting. 

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Please share this parent informational brochure that the M-DCPS SLD/Inclusion Team has developed. Click on image above to access. 

Click to access our tool to work strategically with your LRE data. 

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Publications from the Maryland Coalition of Inclusive Education

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The Personnel Development Portal offers courses at no cost to Florida Educators. We recommend  "Leadership for Inclusion of Students with Disabilities." 

Publications from the Florida Inclusion Network (FIN)

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Lacy Redd: The Principal's Role in Inclusive Education

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*You will need to download Adobe Connect to view.

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Brooks Publishing has an Inclusive Education Webinar Series that is fantastic for teachers. You can locate it by clicking here

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The Inclusion Lab has a lot of helpful (and free) resources for teachers. Click on the picture to go to their site. 

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