Latin inclusion-, inclusio, from includere - to shut in.
- a : a gaseous, liquid, or solid foreign body enclosed in a mass (as of a mineral)
- b : a passive usually temporary product of cell activity (as a starch grain) within the cytoplasm or nucleus
- 3: a relation between two classes that exists when all members of the first are also members of the second — compare membership 3
- 4: the act or practice of including students with disabilities in regular school classes
Inclusion in education is an approach to educating students with special educational needs. Under the inclusion model, students with special needs spend most or all of their time with non-disabled students. Implementation of these practices varies. Schools most frequently use them for selected students with mild to severe special needs.
Inclusive education differs from previously held notions of ‘integration’ and ‘mainstreaming’, which tended to be concerned principally with disability and ‘special educational needs’ and implied learners changing or becoming ‘ready for’ or deserving of accommodation by the mainstream. By contrast, inclusion is about the child’s right to participate and the school’s duty to accept the child. Inclusion rejects the use of special schools or classrooms to separate students with disabilities from students without disabilities. A premium is placed upon full participation by students with disabilities and upon respect for their social, civil, and educational rights.
Fully inclusive schools, which are rare, no longer distinguish between "general education" and "special education" programs; instead, the school is restructured so that all students learn together.