By Philippa H. Campbell, PhD, OTR/L
Inclusion is an important concept. People want to be included and to belong in families, in communities, and in community institutions such as schools. Yet, all people are not always welcomed and, often, people with differences are the ones who are excluded. Children with differences based on factors such as ability, language and heritage, or life experiences are often viewed as having special needs and needing specialized services or other accommodations to help address differences.
Inclusion was originally focused on educational settings, originating more than 40 years ago when the 1975 Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) first required children, to the maximum extent possible, to receive their education in the least restrictive environment (LRE). It was not until 1986 that the law was revised to include a program for infants and toddlers, and also included children age three to kindergarten in the requirement for free and appropriate public education (FAPE), thereby establishing a policy to serve ALL children under kindergarten age and to do so in least restrictive environments.
READ MORE about access, full participation, and system level supports available in Philadelphia. Learn what child care directors and teachers shared about their experience working with children with disabilities or special needs, and what activities and resources they need to best serve their children.