Least Restrictive Environment

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children without disabilities, to the maximum extent possible.


The intent of least restrictive environment was to stop unnecessary segregation and to assist children with disabilities to learn and model appropriate behavior.  Special education students may be removed from the regular education environment only if integration is not possible by utilizing supplementary aids and services.  Least restrictive environment applies to both academic and non-academic curriculum.  Total segregation should occur only when a child with a disability could obtain no benefit from contact with children without disabilities.  This is very rare.


The following describes movement from a less restrictive educational environment to a more restrictive one along the continuum of educational services:


  • General Education classroom
  • General Education classroom with supplemental aids or services; accommodations and modifications;
  • General Education classroom for some instruction and special education resource room for intensive, individualized instruction based on student’s needs;
  • Full time in a self-contained classroom where all students in the classroom have disabilities which is housed in a school with general education classrooms;
  • Special education classrooms within a school that only houses classrooms for students who need special education services and instruction;
  • Educational services at home or in hospitals; and
  • Education services in an institution or other non-school setting or day treatment center.


Phone code: 1619

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