"One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar."


...Helen Keller

Scope Statement:

Given that the successful inclusion classroom requires the participation of all involved, this pathfinder has been created for educators, parents, and students. Inclusion refers to educating students with special needs in a regular classroom as opposed to segregating students with disabilities in special education classes. Inclusion occurs when a student is actively participating in the activities of the class, as a member who belongs, with the support and services they need. The resources below cover a fraction of those available and are limited to the legal aspects of inclusion, the role of general education teachers in an inclusive classroom, collaboration between classroom and special education teachers, and finally, the effects of inclusion on both the general and special education students.


Key Words:

Collaboration, cooperative teaching, co-teaching, general education, special education, general education teacher, special education teacher, team work, professional development, patience, general education students, special education students, academic achievement, student benefits, effects on students, self esteem, behavioral problems, mainstreaming, IDEA, least restrictive environment, disabilities, inclusion support

Essential Questions:

How has collaborative units and/or team teaching impacted inclusion classrooms? (KN)



Cook, L., & Friend, M. (1995, November). Co-Teaching: Guidelines for creating effective practices. (Cover story). Focus on Exceptional Children, 28(3), 1.

This article provides an in depth look at co-teaching and some guidelines to co-teach successfully. It begins with a lengthy introduction explaining what co-teaching entails and lists four key components of this practice. The guidelines are organized in a question answer format which helps readers to easily to search and locate information that they are looking for.

Robinson, L., & Buly, M. (2007). Breaking the Language Barrier: Promoting Collaboration between General and Special Educators. Teacher Education Quarterly, 34(3), 83-94.

This article begins by explaining how inclusion has changed the need for more and more special educations and general education teachers to work collaboratively. Robinson and Buly explain that communication barriers can be to blame when collaboration isn't taking place. They provide results of a discussion that helps better understand that even though a special education teacher may use a different term than a general education teacher they still have the same underlying principals.

Walther-Thomas, C., Bryant, M., & Land, S. (1996). Planning for effective co-teaching: the key to successful inclusion. Remedial and Special Education, 17, 255-64.

This article covers what preparation is needed for effective co-teaching to take place. It explains that co-teaching is different from other interactive models because, “it is based on ongoing classroom participation by supporting colleagues”. The main focus of the article is to discuss planning issues on different levels i.e. district and classroom, as well as an in depth look at the co-planning process. The article concludes with a case study of co-teaching that is included.

Whitecotton, C. (2009). Collaboration & Inclusive Learning. Leadership, 38(4), 16-18.

Whitecotton begins his article by explaining that in order to have successful inclusion teacher should be collaborating with the students. By the students assisting one another and providing input to their teachers about their interests it allows teachers to plan units that relate to students interests and needs. The article also describes the benefits that students get from this type of relationship .


Cramer, S. F. (2006). The Special Educator's Guide to Collaboration: Improving Relationships With Co-Teachers, Teams, and Families. Los Angeles: Corwin Press.

Informative guide covering everything from the principals of collaboration to strategies, goals, and evaluation of successful collaborative planning in and out of the educational community. There is also a section illustrating the student with disabilities legislation leading up to the current era of special education.

Conderman, G., Bresnahan, V. and Pedersen T. (2008). Purposeful Co-Teaching: Real Cases and Effective Strategies. Los Angeles: Corwin Press.

A complete resource for all types of co-teaching including activities and resources for planning lessons as well as case studies and strategies for successful collaboration. Assessment strategies are also covered.

Villa R., Thousand, J.S. & Nevin, A. (2004). A Guide to Co-Teaching: Practical Tips for Facilitating Student Learning. Los Angeles: Corwin Press.

This guide opens up with a chapter on what co-teaching is not, then delves into historical background and the need for collaboration in today's classroom. The best feature is the extensive coverage of the four approaches to co-teaching (supportive, parallel, complementary, and team-teaching) and the changing roles of the parties involved (paraprofessionals and students as co-teachers)

Web Sources

Collaboration Between General and Special Education Teachers
Teacher vision is a web site that provides tools for teachers working in grades K-12. Th sources provided on this site are meant to help educators save time by providing them with authoritative information supplied by educational resources. This article begins by giving a history of inclusion in education and how the role of an educator has progressed over the years. It continues on explaining what co-teaching is and how the two teachers can effectively work together.

Collaboration and Teaching Strategies for the Inclusion Classroom
Tim Scuillon former student of William and Mary created this site that is devoted to discussing the benefits of inclusion and collaboration. It also includes six different floor plans for collaborative teaching, four of these include models. To pair up with the floor plans the site includes types of collaborative teaching methods that match up with the floor plan layouts. Finally, there is a section that is devoted to providing additional links to other resources.

Collaborative Teaching: Special Education for Inclusive Classrooms
This resource is found online but is a text book. There are ten chapters, a links and reference section. Each chapter is very clearly organized by having a set of objectives that the chapter will discuss. The chapters include information on collaboration with parents and teachers as well as chapters devoted to programming, strategies and patterns in classrooms.

"Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change."...Stephen Hawking

How do general education teachers manage to provide quality instruction to all students in an inclusion classroom? What are the concerns and attitudes of these teachers? (JS)



Barnes, P. (2006). The Inclusion Classroom. Teaching Pre K-8, 36(6), 32.

Barnes teaches in an inclusion classroom and provides an overview of how he manages that classroom. He discusses the modifications he makes, dealing with parents, and working with a special education teacher.

Jenkins, R. (2005). Interdisciplinary Instruction in the Inclusion Classroom. Teaching Exceptional Children, 37(5), 42-48.

A fifth-grade inclusion teacher describes a thematic interdisciplinary unit on colonial life created with a special education teacher, parents, and the community . The unit covered broad academic objectives as well as the IEP objectives for the special education students. The unit also provided for interaction between special and general education students. The author mentions how special education students are at risk for fragmented learning because of time spent between general education and special education classrooms, therefore they risk not being able to apply what they learn in one situation to other circumstances. Interdisciplinary instruction helps them make connections.

Kent-Walsh, J., & Light, J. (2003). General education teachers' experiences with inclusion of students who use augmentative and alternative communication. AAC: Augmentative & Alternative Communication, 19(2), 104.

Eleven general education teachers were interviewed for this article. All of the teachers had taught students who use augmentative and alternative communication (ACC). The article discusses the benefits and negative aspects of including ACC students in the classroom, the support required for successful inclusion, and recommendations for other educators. A positive benefit for the teachers was an opportunity to learn how work with students with AAC and a desire to learn sign language. The negative aspects included the additional time required to learn how to operate the students AAC systems and planning inclusive lessons.

Stella, C., Forlin, C., & Lan, A. (2007). The influence of an inclusive education course on attitude change of pre-service secondary teachers in Hong Kong. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 35(2), 161-179.

This article discusses the shift in preparing special education teachers to work with students with different categories of needs to preparing general teachers to work with all types of children with diverse needs in a mainstream setting. Pre-service teachers are surveyed about their attitudes and confidence level after taking a 20-hour education module on inclusion education. Part of the module included interactive contact with mildly disabled students. The results of the survey showed pre-service teachers were most concerned with their inadequacies to deal with disabled students and whether they would be provided sufficient resources in their classroom.

Weiner, H. (2003). Effective inclusion: Professional development in the context of the classroom. Teaching Exceptional Children, 35(6), 12.

A teacher discusses the different levels of inclusion in his school district. Level one schools ignore individual differences in students and teach to the middle of the class. Level three schools are dedicated to ensuring all students succeed and view low achievement as a challenge to improve their services. The article discusses the use of District Inclusion Facilitators who work with teachers on an individual basis to help them become successful teachers in an inclusion classroom. The facilitators focus on the teachers personal values and attitudes, aspirations, and experience.


Downing, J.E. (2002). Including students with severe and multiple disabilities in typical classrooms : practical strategies for teachers (2nd ed.). Baltimore, MD: P.H. Brookes (2nd ed.). Baltimore, MD: P.H. Brookes. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

This book covers all aspects of inclusion, but focuses on the role of the general education teacher. The authors place the primary responsibility of successful inclusion on the classroom teacher and administrators, not special education teachers. It provides tools classroom teachers can use to apply inclusion principles as well as strategies to overcome barriers to inclusion.

Wade, S.E. (Ed.). (2000). Inclusive education : a casebook and readings for prospective and practicing teachers. Mahwah, NJ: L. Erlbaum Associates.

Wade begins by providing an overview on the history of special education, the passing of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and a discussion about curricular and instructional approaches that facilitate inclusion. The second part of the book focuses on fourteen teaching cases from the actual events as experienced by the authors. The book also has a companion book called Preparing Teachers for Inclusive Education: Case Pedagogies and Curricula for Teacher Educators

Web Sources

321 Learn! (2009). Inclusion tips. From

This resource provides links to articles such as How to Teach to Multiple Abilities and Intervention for Struggling Students. There is also a link to children's books for parents and teachers that discuss a variety of issues regarding special education.

Family Education Network. (2009). TeacherVision: Lesson plans, printables, and more. From

Enter the word "inclusion" in the search box and you will be directed to a list of resources for classroom teachers in a K-12 inclusion classroom. There are tips for managing disruptive behavior, a section on IEPs, adaptions for students with special needs, and much more. Many of the articles and resources do require that you register for a free 7-day trial.

Renaissance Group. (1999). Inclusion: Teacher competencies needed. From

This website begins with a great slogan "Children that learn together, learn to live together." Although an older site, this document offers good suggestions for what abilities a general education teacher should possess in order to be a good inclusion teacher. For example a teacher should be able to informally assess a student's needs without having to rely on standardized testing and a teacher should be able to value all types of skills a student brings to the classroom.

Wagaman, J. (2009, May 29). Inclusion classroom tips for new teachers. From

Wagaman's short article provides helpful tips for a new teacher in an inclusion classroom setting. Her tips include practicing patience with special needs students since they will require extra time to learn new concepts. She also advices the classroom teacher to sit down with the special education teacher and create a cheat sheet for each student with their IEP, including the student's strengths and weaknesses. Finally, there are suggestions to help new teacher work to build up the student's self-esteem.


"Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn't

mean he lacks vision."

...Stevie Wonder

How does inclusion effect both the general education and special education students in terms of learning, self esteem, and peer acceptance? (EW)


Daniel, L.G.. & King, D. A. (1997) Impact of inclusion education on academic achievement, student behavior and self-esteem, and parental attitudes. Journal of Educational Research. 91(2), 67-80. Retrieved from Wolters Kluwer Health on June 9th, 2009

Study comparing special needs students in an inclusive setting to students in a non inclusive setting in terms of achievement, self esteem, and behavioral issues. Article also gives a basic overview of some of the pros and cons of inclusion that lead to this study. the findings are difficult to decipher, but students showed little differences in academic achievement but higher instances of behavioral issues in the inclusive classroom.

Chandler-Olcott, K., & Kluth, P. (2009, April). Why everyone benefits from including students with autism in literacy classrooms. Reading Teacher, 62(7), 548-557. (JS)

Discussion of how inclusion of autistic children in literacy classes can lead to changes in teaching methods from re-evaluation of teaching and assessment to meet the needs of the autistic students. Inclusive practices enhance the literacy success of autistic students. Article also comments on how the alternative teaching approaches used for autistic children translates into benefits for regular students as well.

Sharpe, M. N., & York, J. L. (1994). Effects of inclusion on the academic performance of classmates without disabilities. Remedial & Special Education. 15 (5) 281-288.

Article addresses the concern that inclusion will negatively affect the general education students in the classroom. Article attempts to answer the following: does inclusion hinder the average test scores of the general education students in the classroom and is there an increased instance of behavioral issues in the classroom with implementation of inclusion? Research is conducted through study of 5 SEN students placed in with mainstream classes in an elementary school in Minnesota. The results showed that no significant change was detected in either test scores or behavior. The study also notes the lack of research available at the time and the need for further study.

Chamberlain, B., Kasari C., & Rotheram-Fuller, E. (2007). Involvement or isolation? The social networks of children with autism in regular classrooms. Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders. 37 (2): 230-42

Article focused on the concern that inclusion of autistic children in regular classrooms could increase feelings of loneliness and isolation. Study was of 398 children in regular 2nd-5th grade classes that included 17 autistic children. Children reported on friendship qualities, peer acceptance, loneliness and social networks. Findings showed that while autistic students demonstrated more isolation, they did not demonstrate more feelings of loneliness. Article notes that further research is needed.

Marloes, K., Nakken, H., Pjil, S. J., van Houten, E. (2009). Being part of the peer group: a literature study focusing on the social dimension of inclusion in education. International Journal of Inclusive Education. 13 (2) 117-14

Article is a literature review of publications on social participation, integration and inclusion for special needs children in inclusion settings. Review notes that many of the research methods used were limited and many were inaccurate or provided implicit descriptions from the measuring instruments used. Research was done to look into peer friendships and social interactions between SNS and general ed students.

Web Sources

Lockette, T., McLeskey, J., & Williamson, P. (2006). Students with mental retardation make gains in the general classroom, UF study finds. Retrieved July 12, 2009 from

Article is general overview that provides an overview of special needs education and the benefits to both general education students and mentally disabled students, including higher average test scores. Article describes how ineffective inclusion programs are driving schools away from inclusive practices and how a special needs students education varies from region to region.

CTER Mainstreaming/inclusion. Retrieved July 12th, 2009 from CTER EdWik:

Wiked is an education resource managed by CTER program, and online masters degree from the University of Illinois and educators are encouraged to contribute. This page gives and overview of some of the benefits of inclusion as well as some of some critiques. Testimonials from real teachers provide good real life perspective

King, E. N. (2008, November 4). The benefits of an inclusion classroom. Message posted to:

Brief blog post written by a school psychologists on the benefits of inclusion in the classroom and offers some instances where inclusion is not a good option. Comments also give interesting perspective from other parents and teachers that have experience with inclusion with either their children or with other students.


Cigman, R. (2009). Included or Excluded?: The Challenge of the Mainstream for Some SEN Children. T & F Books: UK.
Book looks at some of the challenges presented in teaching special education children and also discusses some instances where inclusion isn’t necessarily in the student’s best interest. With perspectives from both sides, the book contains different articles written by parents of special needs students, educators, psychologists, lawyers, and philosophers and provides a good look at different viewpoints on a very debated issue.

"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort."

...Franklin D. RooseveltHow does NJ law define inclusion and least restrictive environment? (LM)


Etscheidt, S. (2006). Least Restrictive and Natural Environments for Young Children with Disabilities: A Legal Analysis of Issues. [Editorial]. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, v26 n3 , 167-178.

Abstract: Providing appropriate programs for young children with disabilities is a priority of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1990 (IDEA), recently reauthorized as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004. The IDEIA requires that programs be provided least restrictive environments, and issues concerning this area have been the focus of recent litigation. In this article, the author explores the issues surrounding this litigation and offers recommendations for developing Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs) and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for young children with disabilities. An analysis of administrative and judicial decisions revealed four themes: placement decisions were based on the potential for academic and nonacademic benefits, readiness for inclusion, instructional approaches, and the considerations of a full continuum of options. Guidelines for promoting inclusive placement decisions include expanding professional development, improving the "readiness" of inclusive placements, and coordinating the exploration of natural and inclusive environments.

Patterson, K. (2005). What Classroom Teachers Need to Know about IDEA '97. Kappa Delta Pi Record, Winter 2005, 62-67.

Abstract: The law mandates that students with disabilities be educated in the least restrictive environment. This means that children with disabilites and children without disabilities must be educated together to the greatest extent possible. The classroom teacher in the general education classroom plays a significant role in the success of all students; being well informed of the law enables the regular classroom teacher to deliver essential services to special needs students.

Russo, C., Osborne, A., & Borreca, E. (2005). The 2004 Re-Authorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Education and the Law, v17 n13, 111-117.

Abstract: The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the most current revision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 notwithstanding, the more than 100 page long Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the most comprehensive, expensive, and litigated federal statute impacting on public education in the United States. Enacted initially in 1975 as the Education for All Handicapped Children's Act, the IDEA is designed to provide a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment for all students with disabilities between the ages of three and 21. Previously revised most recently in 1997, the United States Congress has, as with many other statutes, periodically re-examined the provisions of the IDEA in an attempt to ensure that the Act meets the educational needs of students with disabilities


New Jersey State Bar Foundation. (2008). The Right to Special Education In New Jersey. New Brunswick, NJ: New Jersey State Bar Foundation.
Summary: This manual is designed to help advocates, including parents, obtain special education for children with disabilities. The manual explains the requirements of the federal statute governing special education—the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)—and the federal and state regulations implementing IDEA. In addition, the manual gives practical information about the special education system, and suggests ways to advocate for an appropriate education for children with disabilities. The intent of this manual is to provide information and guidance to advocates so that all children with disabilities in the state can achieve high standards and receive an education that prepares them for full participation in society

Yell, M. (2005). The Law and Special Education. New York City, NY: Prentice Hall.

Summary: In order to understand the field of special education, it is important that teachers, administrators, families, and education professionals have knowledge of the requirements, history, and evolution of laws impacting the field. The Law and Special Education by Mitchell L. Yell provides the latest information about these important and critical changes. The author discusses up to date information on the IDEA Improvement act of 2004 and the effects of NCLB on special education. The book also addresses legal developments in special ed and offers tips on research sources

Web Sources

New Jersey Department of Education. (2009). Retrieved July 12, 2009 from State on New Jersey, Placement in the Least Restrictive Environment:
Summary: School districts must ensure to the maximum extent appropriate that students with disabilities ages three through 21 are educated with non disabled children and participate in nonacademic and extracurricular activities with nondisabled children.

New Jersey Department of Education. (2009). Retrieved July 12, 2009 from State on New Jersey, Special Education Programs:

Summary: Chapter 6A:14, Special Education was adopted at the August 2, 2006 meeting of the State Board of Education. Explains the obligations and responsibilities of the ofiice of the NJDOE regarding special education.

"I'm very learning-disabled, and I think it drove me to what I'm doing."

...Chuck Close

Close, C. (Artist). (2002). Emma, [Online Image]. Retrieved July 13, from Google Images.

All links checked and current as of July 10, 2009.