Least Restrictive Environment
The use of Least Restrictive Environment in federal law plays a large role in the placement decision for IEP teams.
From IDEA 2004:
300.114 LRE Requirements
(2)(i) To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled; and
(ii) Special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.
Each IEP team must take this language into consideration, and must determine what supports would be needed to allow the child access to their LRE. Supplementary Aids and Services is key for the success of LRE. Pennsylvania has legislation, court settlement agreements, court cases and additional information that helps to define and support LRE. The full continuum of placement options from regular education classroom placements to instruction in the home are available for IEP teams to consider. LRE is an individual decision based on the individual needs and strengths of the student. LRE for one student does not have to look the same for another student.
Resources on LRE regulations in Pennsylvania: