ABCs of Effective Mainstreaming and Inclusion

ABCs of Effective Mainstreaming and Inclusion

14% of students enrolled in public schools receive special education services, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Of that number, 34% are related to specific disabilities defined as disabilities of “basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language,” which can manifest as problems with listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking. Remaining listed disabilities fall under categories of additional speech or language impairment, health problems, autism, intellectual issues, and emotional disturbances.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires teaching students defined as special needs in LREs, or Least Restrictive Environments. An LRE involves the placement of special needs students in general classroom settings to the “maximum extent that is appropriate.” The commonly-used term for such placement is “mainstreaming.” Naturally, students with special needs still require ample support and attention while in general classroom settings, and should not feel excluded from participating. Here is where inclusion comes into play.

Why Mainstreaming and Inclusion Matter

Many K-12 teachers are tasked with managing their general classes while also tending to the needs of students who face complicated learning differences. These differences can range from physical impairments, such as visual or hearing issues, to other learning obstacles such as autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, and many others.

Managing mainstreaming and inclusion can put teachers in challenging situations, for they bear an enormous responsibility to teach their subject matter to all students while juggling the inherent changes of incorporating applicable practices. Many school districts have their own protocols, and not all of them follow the same guidelines for implementation. Therefore, if a teacher moves from one district to another, it can seem like she needs to learn a new process all over again.  That is one more reason why this can all seem like a daunting task, but it is one that teachers must rise to meet. It is not just the right thing to do; it is required by special education law that children with special needs be taught with their peers and included in the general classroom as much as possible.

To help teachers accomplish these complex goals, Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne offers a comprehensive course—ABCs of Effective Mainstreaming & Inclusion.


Benefits of the Course

ABCs of Effective Mainstreaming & Inclusion offers clear definitions of special education terminology and current information on common diagnoses. It features lists of observable traits to watch out for, plus instructional/behavioral strategies to compassionately and effectively support learners with differences. You will learn how to help students cope with and work through frustrations as they inevitably arise while recognizing and managing your thoughts and feelings.

Teachers must know how to effectively facilitate the changes that can come with properly, including special needs students. These skills are particularly necessary when there is a classroom disruption or a situation drawing attention to a particular student. All students must feel welcome, respected, and equal. In some cases, a special needs child can experience stress or anxiety due to the problems they are struggling with, which are often beyond their control to cope with on their own. This course helps teachers discover ways to mitigate such occurrences by fostering an inclusive environment and maximizing each student’s strengths.

Offering best practices that every K-12 educator needs to know, this course will benefit you no matter how long you have been in the profession. Tangible benefits of taking the course include:

  • Learning how to recognize and define various learning exceptionalities
  • General familiarization with criteria for diagnosis
  • Spotting common traits within exceptional learner populations
  • Practical instructional and behavior management strategies
  • Proven ways to promote positive inclusion practices
  • Tactics for successful change management


Objectives for ABCs of Effective Mainstreaming & Inclusion

Offered through Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne Professional, ABCs of Effective Mainstreaming & Inclusion equips teachers with the essential tools needed to implement mainstreaming and inclusion strategies successfully. Our modern curriculum is made specifically for busy K-12 teachers and features straightforward, self-paced online content. A few of the timely topics covered include:

  • Defining “inclusive” schools
  • Historical perspectives on special needs
  • Understanding the whole child and the critical elements of learning
  • Student and parent rights
  • Effective general management and change management techniques
  • Best practices for fostering inclusivity and adapting curriculum
  • Focus on teaching reading and mathematics
  • Special topics on:
    • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
    • Autism
    • Communication disorders
    • Mental and developmental disabilities
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
    • Oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder
    • Sensory integrative dysfunction
    • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Physical impairments (visual, hearing, orthopedic, Traumatic Brain Injury)
  • Environmentally-induced impairments
  • Addressing organization skills deficiencies
  • Clinical and multifactor evaluations
  • Additional practical tips and resources

Successful completion of the ABCs of Effective Mainstreaming & Inclusion can lead to lifelong, transformational benefits for both teachers and their special needs learners. The new skills and semester credits earned may also boost your professional career, qualifying you for potential promotions, pay increases, or license renewal/recertification. Prior to enrolling in a course, it is recommended that students seek approval from their district or state.

This three-semester credit course counts towards the University of La Verne’s 15-credit certificate in Inclusive Classroom Teaching. Students may also be interested in the following courses:

Note, the University of La Verne is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the Council on Accreditation of Educator Preparation. We advise students to please check with your school district or state department of education if one of our courses or certificates is needed to satisfy specific criteria, since requirements may vary.


How to Register

ABCs of Effective Mainstreaming & Inclusion is offered in both an online or emailed PDF format, and all books and materials are included in the registration. Like all of our courses, it is open for anyone to register at any time during a semester. After completion, students earn graduate, non-degree semester credit from an accredited university, as reflected on their official transcript.

Registration is straightforward and can be done online or over the phone. Courses are offered ongoing during three semesters, and you can start whenever you are ready! Students may choose to enroll in up to a maximum of 15-semester credits at any time during each semester. The registration dates are:

  • Fall: September 1 - January 31
  • Spring: February 1 - May 31
  • Summer: June 1 - August 31

With so much at stake, teachers must keep abreast of the ever-evolving changes in today’s educational practices. They need essential basic training to stay compliant with laws and ensure all students receive the opportunity for successful learning. This course is designed to help with these vital endeavors!



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