February 2017

What is a predictor of post-secondary success for students with intellectual disabilities? Inclusion, access to the general education curriculum in general education classes with peers without disabilities, is one of the researched and highly qualitatively correlated in-school programmatic components that the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) lists as a predictor of post-secondary success for students with intellectual disabilities. In fact, inclusion is listed as a high impact predictor in the outcome areas of education, employment and independent living. (Post School Success, NCTACT; Predicting Outcomes, NCTACT) 
Inclusion-READY schools, as described in NTACT's Predictor Brief:  
» Provide administrative support, such as common planning time for general education and special education teachers, and regularly scheduled professional development for teachers and paraprofessionals.

Develop a receptive school atmosphere for including students with disabilities in general education by educating administrators, teachers, other staff, and students about person-first language, disability rights and inclusive practices.

Use diverse instructional strategies to meet the learning needs of all students including universal design for learning (UDL), technology, and linking instruction to student interests.
(Inclusion in General Education Correlated with Improved Education, Employment, and Independent Living Outcomes, NTACT)
Inclusion SETs up students for success when:  

» The school atmosphere is one where all students are welcomed, educated and valued, and a variety of student accomplishments of all abilities are highlighted in the arts, personal character, behavior, social skills, as well as sports and academics through multiple forms of communication, such as school newsletters, posters, and  the school's website.

» Peer-to-peer interactions are set up regularly within instruction so that all students have specific roles to assist other students in completing an activity or teaching of a lesson. Within inclusion, such peer mediated supports involve training typical peers to promote positive academic, social, and communication outcomes for students with disabilities.

» Universal Design for Learning is considered, which will not only provide accommodations for students with disabilities, but helps to meet all students' learning needs by providing materials in multiple formats.

(Fast Facts: Inclusion in General Education, Council for Exceptional Children)
GO to these resources to learn about what makes inclusion work in the classroom:

» Inclusion: What does it mean and who is it for?
- This webinar outlines  benefits of inclusion of students with intellectual disabilities & autism and introduces a tool for Individualized Education Program (IEP) implementation in inclusive classrooms for a broad range of students.

» Promote Academic Engagement and Communication of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Inclusive Settings  
- This article, from the journal Intervention in School and Clinic, describes 20 evidence-based strategies shown to facilitate participation and learning of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and/or intellectual disabilities in inclusive settings.    

» Peer Mediated Supports Annotated Bibliography
- This annotated bibliography from NTACT provides categorized research about peer-mediated supports (typical peers without disabilities providing assistance to classmates with disabilities).    

» Universal Design for Learning: Theory and Practice by A. Meyer, D.H. Rose & D. Gordon
- This free web edition of the 2014 book provides a comprehensive presentation of UDL principles and practices. (NOTE: free account and log-in required for access)

» Your TTAC library for additional resources, including:  
  • The Preschool Inclusion Toolbox: How to Build and Lead a High-quality Program by E.E. Barton & B.J. Smith
  • Equity and Full Participation for Individuals with Severe Disabilities: A Vision for the Future by Carol Quirk

» CEC's Fast Facts on Inclusion:  Council for Exceptional Children's Division of Career Development and Transition Publications Committee (DCDT; August 2013). Fast Facts: Inclusion in General Education

» National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT)
This news brief is a collaborative effort of the Virginia Department of Education Training and Technical Assistance Centers at George Mason University and James Madison University. This issue was prepared by the staff of the VDOE TTAC at George Mason University. For questions about content, please contact
Karen Berlin at kberlin@gmu.edu or Geoff Weber at gweber3@gmu.edu or call 703.993.4496.