Abstract

Federal laws mandate students with disabilities, including students with complex instructional needs (SWCIN), be involved and progress in the general education curriculum and that schools be accountable for continuous and substantial improvement of academic achievement for all students. The limited research on teaching academic content to SWCIN indicates that they achieve more positive outcomes when standards aligned instruction occurs within general education contexts. However, long-term change for instruction in general education contexts typically seems to be personality dependent rather than embedded within a sustainable system. We present content analysis findings of an expert panel concerning one state's initiative to address these issues, organized around four themes: (a) defining inclusive practices, (b) rethinking instruction for SWCIN, (c) rethinking the individualized education program (IEP), and (d) building sustainable inclusive practices across a system. Finally, we extend the panelists' conclusions to provide implications for professional development, practice, policy and administrative procedures, monitoring the quality of services, and research.

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