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Mimy
Mimy asks:
Q:

what's the difference between mainstreaming and inclusion?

Special education for a kindergarten and 2nd. grader.
In Topics: Learning issues and special needs
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Louiseasl
Sep 1, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

I have heard these two words used interchangeably.  My only thought is that mainstreaming is an "older" term and tends to mean an all day setting, while inclusion could be a partial day programming option.

Thanks for writing!

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Additional Answers (3)

EdEd
EdEd writes:
They often refer to the same thing, but could be different depending on the school, district, special education program, etc. If you're asking about the difference in general, you can google "mainstreaming vs. inclusion" and find some articles. If you're asking about what it would mean for a particular child or a few children, you'd want to ask the school what those things look like. For example, "mainstreaming" could mean that a child with special education spends the entire day in a general education classroom, or could mean that the child only participates in certain general education activities, such as art, PE, lunch, etc.

So, the best course of action is to ask those who will be specifically doing the "mainstreaming" or "inclusion" exactly what they mean by that.
> 60 days ago

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MissCook
MissCook writes:
As a special education teacher, this is my area of expertise. The school system I am currently in is working hard towards inclusion at all grade levels. Granted an inclusive setting is not appropriate for ALL students, we still provide a self-contained classroom for more severe disabilities and one-on-one instruction. Keep in mind inclusion and mainstreaming depends fully on the student and which setting is most appropriate for them in which they can receive the full extent of instruction.

Inclusion for a special education student means that they are in the regular classroom all day long while the special education teacher circulates in the same classroom co-teaching with the regular education teacher. Granted this is always a collaborative situation, but essentially inclusion is educating the student to the maximum extent appropriate in the school and classroom the student would otherwise attend. In an inclusion setting the supports are brought to the students rather than being "pulled out" for resource services.

Mainstreaming is where a student in special education is selectively placed in the regular ed. setting. This may only be for PE, art, music, library or guidance; or it could include going to math class for an hour or reading/language arts class for an hour. Placing the student in these settings depends a lot on how the student functions in the regular ed setting. Basically this is your "pull out" services.
> 60 days ago

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MissCook
MissCook writes:
As a special education teacher, this is my area of expertise. The school system I am currently in is working hard towards inclusion at all grade levels. Granted an inclusive setting is not appropriate for ALL students, we still provide a self-contained classroom for more severe disabilities and one-on-one instruction. Keep in mind inclusion and mainstreaming depends fully on the student and which setting is most appropriate for them in which they can receive the full extent of instruction.

Inclusion for a special education student means that they are in the regular classroom all day long while the special education teacher circulates in the same classroom co-teaching with the regular education teacher. Granted this is always a collaborative situation, but essentially inclusion is educating the student to the maximum extent appropriate in the school and classroom the student would otherwise attend. In an inclusion setting the supports are brought to the students rather than being "pulled out" for resource services.

Mainstreaming is where a student in special education is selectively placed in the regular ed. setting. This may only be for PE, art, music, library or guidance; or it could include going to math class for an hour or reading/language arts class for an hour. Placing the student in these settings depends a lot on how the student functions in the regular ed setting. Basically this is your "pull out" services.
> 60 days ago

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