- When the child is making progress on the identified IEP objectives
- When the child is making developmentally appropriate academic gains related to the general education curriculum (not necessarily performing at grade level)
- When the child is able to accomplish numbers 1 and 2 above with their typically developing peers also making expected academic gains (Many people think that kids with disabilities cause too many "disruptions" in the classroom, and it is "not fair" for the typically developing kids. As long as the child's behaviors and needs to do not cause academic declines or lack of academic gains in their typically developing peers, we shouldn't assume that these "disruptions" are impeding learning. Data would have to show that.)
If the above three things are evident, clearly the inclusive classroom is the appropriate placement. If they are not evident, additional supports should first be considered. However, if the child is still not progressing academically and making gains towards IEP objectives even with all essential supports in place, that would be a time to consider if some special settings are necessary to address some (not all) of the child's learning needs. That's when the continuum of services comes in. However, any time spent out of the general education classroom should "be worth it." The student should be making meaningful gains that for a specific reason could not be addressed in the general education classroom.
This post may cause controversy, but I feel that the inclusion movement needs to start "running" instead of moving at a snail's pace. I know there are some places in the U.S. and other countries that have some progressive inclusive programming, but not nearly enough for us to ease up on our efforts to make more and more schools and communities meaningfully inclusive.