What is Inclusion?

The principle behind inclusion is that all children should be educated together, and the supports and services should follow the child into the setting they would attend if they didn't have a disability. Research indicates children with disabilities learn from their peers who are typically developing and that all children benefit when supports and services are pushed into a typical classroom setting.

In their report "The Business of Early Care and Education in Illinois" (2008) the ISBE states:

Inclusion of children with disabilities and their families in early care and education, as well as other community settings, is rooted in the concept of equity. Two central components of inclusion are access or enrollment in early care and education, and participation, which involves active engagement in activities in settings that promote learning and development. Young children with disabilities do not require different activities or experiences for learning to occur. However, they do need specific, individualized supports comprised of evidence-based instructional strategies (e.g. adaptations, individualized instructional strategies, modified curriculum and/or environment, and weaving interventions into routines) to benefit from learning opportunities. High-quality early care and education services for all children require coordinated efforts across the service delivery spectrum, including child care, general education, special education, health care, mental health, and social services. Collaboration is the key to achieving high-quality inclusive services! (p. 28)

Since inclusive programs are not yet the norm for early childhood, parents will most likely need to advocate for and facilitate this type of opportunity for their child.

The following resources further clarify the need for and importance of inclusive settings for young children:

Organizations that help parents and districts support inclusive practices include:

Learn ways to support your child in an inclusive setting.

Learn why inclusion is important.

Contact Us

Johnna Darragh-Ernst

Professor Early Childhood Education

1500 W Raab Road
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-268-8746

Email: johnna.darragh@heartland.edu