Inclusion remains a controversial topic in education because it relates to educational and social values, as well as to our sense of individual worth. There are advocates on both sides of the issue. James Kauffman of the University of Virginia views inclusion as a policy driven by an unrealistic expectation that money will be saved. Furthermore, he argues that trying to force all students into the inclusion mold is just as coercive and discriminatory as trying to force all students into the mold of a special education class or residential institution (Stout, 2001). On the other side are those who believe that all students belong in the regular education classroom, and that "good" teachers are those who can meet the needs of all the students, regardless of what those needs may be. Between the two ends are large groups of educators and parents who are confused by the concept itself. They wonder whether inclusion is legally required and wonder what is best for children. They also question what it is that schools and school personnel must do to meet the needs of children with disabilities. Frequently, the decisions that educators make regarding appro¬priate instructional, curricular, or behavioral interventions for stu¬dents with special needs have been based primarily on the places" (for example, Title I room, special education resource room) or "programs" (for example, remedial reading program, dropout prevention program) where the students are to be edu¬cated. However, students with special needs increasingly are being included in general classroom environments (Lombardi, 1999). One difficulty with inclusion is that the interventions made to meet an individual student's special needs often have been more intrusive than is necessary. However, there are two practical tools to assist general and special educators, working collaboratively, to make effective instructional decisions for students with special needs in the general classroom. The first tool is a Levels of Inten¬sity of Intervention Decision-Making Framework that may be used by individuals or teams to make effective decisions regarding instructional or curricular interventions for students with special learning challenges. The reality of the benefits of inclusion of special needs students in regular classrooms, supported by twenty years of extensive research, according to Lapp, Flood, Fisher, Sax and Pumpian (1996), was described as follows: It has become obvious that inclusive education enhances:
a)achievement of individualized education plan objectives,
b)interactive social skills development and communication
skills development, c) skill generalization, or the transfer of learning to new environments and d) post school
integration into real jobs and homes in the community.
Inclusive methods of service delivery were thought to have moved from intrusion to inclusion, meeting the need for change in the special education system effectively.
In order to discuss the concept of inclusion, it is first...