Placement Decisions for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
Special education placements are a continuum from least restrictive to most restrictive.
By Charlotte Cushman, MLS, M.Ed.
The Federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has two fundamental requirements: that the child receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). This does not mean that all children will automatically go to their local public schools and be included in general education classes for the full day, but rather the educational team will review with the family what the most appropriate placement is for each individual student, depending on his or her needs, as well as the programming that is available.
Special education placements are a continuum from least restrictive to most restrictive:
- General education classroom in local public school
- Resource room model where student is pulled out of general education class for specific amounts of time
- Self-contained classroom in local public school
- Special school (day program)
- Residential school
This continuum does not suggest any one of the options being better or worse, as it depends entirely on the individual student. For example, a student who is totally blind with additional disabilities may be more fully included at a residential school for the blind, where he or she can be on sports teams and other extracurricular activities, as well as more fully included in social activities.For example: https://www.familyconnect.org/info/education/your-childs-educational-team-and-placement/most-appropriate-placement/135 .