Asian student listening to a digital version of her textbookUpdated, April 2017

Looking for information, resources, and technical assistance (TA) to help you and others support children with disabilities in their least restrictive environment in school? Here’s a starter list of places to look online. These will surely lead you to more.

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Quick-jump links

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Reflecting on the Meaning of LRE

Considering LRE in Placement Decisions.
Indepth look at what LRE is, how it’s defined in IDEA and in practice, and who decides placement for a student with a disability.
http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/placement-lre/

Supports, modifications, and accommodations for students with disabilities.
A great resource for families, Parent Centers, educators, and students themselves to explore how to support students with disabilities in the classroom and about the school.
http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/accommodations/

Dear Colleague Letter on Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).
This policy letter from the U.S. Department of Education clarifies that IEPs for children with disabilities must be aligned with state academic content standards for the grade in which a child is enrolled.
http://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/guidance-on-fape-11-17-2015.pdf

Dear Colleague Letter on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs.
This January 2017 Dear Colleague letter reaffirms the Department of Education’s position that young children with disabilities should have access to inclusive high-quality early childhood programs where they are provided with individualized and appropriate supports to enable them to meet high expectations. The DCL also reiterates that the least restrictive environment (LRE) requirements of IDEA  are fully applicable to the placement of preschool children with disabilities.
https://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/preschool-lre-dcl-1-10-17.pdf

Inclusion, Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), Mainstreaming.
http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/lre.index.htm

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Availability of Accessible Materials

All students need instructional materials (textbooks, worksheets, exams) in accessible formats. Many disabilities can affect a student’s ability to learn from printed materials (e.g., a reading disability, a physical limitation that makes holding the materials difficult, etc.). Accessible materials ARE available—in digital formats, large print, Braille, and more. Here are 3 places to consult to find the accessible instructional materials your students (or children) need if they’re going to access the general curriculum.

National Center on Accessible Educational Materials.
http://aem.cast.org/

Bookshare.
http://www.bookshare.org/

Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic).
http://www.learningally.org/

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Building Instructional Capacity and Skill of Educators

Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center.
Check out the ECTA Center’s treasure chest of tools, webinars, and publications in its collection “Inclusion in Least Restrictive Environments.”
http://ectacenter.org/topics/inclusion/default.asp

OESE Center on Instruction.
www.centeroninstruction.org/

Reading Rockets.
How to help students learn to read, including those with disabilities. Lots of materials for families and educators alike.
www.readingrockets.org

Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).
Focused on implementing postive behavioral supports and interventions on a schoolwide basis, an approach to addressing behavioral collentes that is backed strongly by years of research.
http://www.pbis.org

Center on Technology and Disability.
Technology can help students with disabilities access the general curriculum, take part in school activities, and be educated alongside their peers without disabilities. Explore what technology can offer support where students need it.
http://ctdinstitute.org/

National Center on Universal Design for Learning.
UDL… universal design for learning… is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. This site is especially appropriate for teachers and curriculum designers.
http://www.udlcenter.org/

IRIS Center for Training Enhancements.
Online professional development modules on a wide range of “how-to” practices that support inclusion of students with disabilities, such as accommodations, assessment, progress monitoring, behavior, differentiated instruction, and much more—
http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/iris-resource-locator/

Creating an inclusive school environment: A model for school leaders.
http://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/inc/chalcycle.htm

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LRE Materials and Supports in Your State

It is always a good idea to contact your state’s Parent Center, on issues such as LRE, special education, and state and local resources. Your Parent Center is very likely to be aware of state-specific materials and resources that support the education of students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. Click on the link above to find the Parent Center(s) serving your state or region.

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