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Providing families with information in order to increase the numbers of students benefiting from greater access to inclusive education

Welcome to this collection of resources on Inclusion, developed and reviewed by the SPAN START-EPSD project in collaboration with New Jersey Office of Special Education Programs (NJOSEP), specifically for families to use in supporting their children in leading inclusive lives.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) states that:

(1) To the maximum extent appropriate children with disabilities…are educated with children who are non- disabled; and

(2) Special classes, separate schooling or other removal of children with disabilities from the general education classroom occurs only when education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.


Students with special needs benefit most when they are educated in the least restrictive environment to the maximum extent appropriate. There is significant research outlining the benefits of inclusion for both students with and without disabilities. This section helps families and others build their knowledge base and understanding of inclusion.

10 Reasons to Support Inclusive School Communities for ALL Students | This article discusses 10 compelling reasons to support inclusive education for students with and without disabilities. 10 razones para apoyar a las comunidadesescolares inclusivas para TODOS los estudiantes

Inclusive Education – What Does the Research Say? A Summary of the Evidence on Inclusive Education | This international report identifies research that demonstrates the benefits of inclusive education for students with and without disabilities and is essential reading for education administrators, teachers, and parents.

Strategies for Success: What Parents Need to Know About Quality Inclusion for ALL Children  |  The goal of this webinar is to increase awareness of the benefits of inclusion and to offer strategies and resources to enable families and educators to support and increase inclusive opportunities for children with disabilities.

4 Benefits of Inclusion Classrooms / 4 Beneficios de los salones de clase inclusivos  |  This online article shows an inclusion classroom where general education teachers and special education teachers work together to meet the needs of students. This type of classroom gives special education students the support they need and allows them to stay in the least restrictive environment. All students can benefit from the additional resources and supportive techniques used in an inclusion classroom.


This section helps families and others build their knowledge base and understanding around inclusive education.

The Golden Rule of Providing Support in Inclusive Classrooms: Support Others as You Would Wish to Be Supported | In this article, the term “adult support” refers to any professional who supports a student with a disability in an inclusive classroom. Adult support can be seamless and effective–and thereby fully support the purposes of inclusion. The author states that adequately applying the golden rule requires knowledge and imagination and that educators need to know the effect of their actions on students.

Inclusion is More Than “Just Being In” | This webinar previews the essential elements of inclusive education for students who have complex support needs such as autism, Down syndrome, intellectual disability, and multiple disabilities. The webinar is presented by Cheryl Jorgensen, author of the book “It’s More Than ‘Just Being In.’”

Planning for an Inclusive Classroom  |  This webinar from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) uncovers how to best understand and implement inclusionary practices into the classroom that will help children with developmental delays or disabilities participate successfully alongside their peers. Families might wish to share this resource with their child’s classroom teacher.

Preparing Young Children for the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities into the Classroom  |  This helpful blog post on the subject of inclusion of young children will help teachers make their classroom more inclusive and productive for all.

The Role of the Paraprofessional in the Inclusive Class  |  This webinar discusses the role of a paraprofessional in an inclusive classroom. Inclusion expert Julie Causton gives tips and tools to manage the complex expectations of this job. Parents can share this webinar with teachers and para professionals. Viewers will learn:

  • how paraprofessionals can work successfully in the inclusive classroom,
  • how to provide students effective and appropriate support,
  • how to manage relationships with teachers and students, and
  • how to help support friendships between students.

Hallmarks of Inclusive Education

  • High standards
  • Research-based strategies
  • Array of supports and services
  • Flexible environments
  • Administrative leadership
  • Cooperation and collaboration
  • Expanding roles and responsibilities
  • Ongoing staff development


This section provides resources and relevant websites on inclusion, with user-friendly information and practical tips to support and empower parents and families as partners in improving their child’s academic and social-emotional growth by increasing opportunities for successful inclusion.

Signs of an Inclusive School: A Parent’s Perspective on the Meaning and Value of Authentic Inclusion I This article, written from a parent’s perspective, highlights a series of questions that school leadership, educators, and families can ask themselves in reflecting on whether their schools offer authentically inclusive experiences. Included are strategies and ideas to create and strengthen academically and socially inclusive educational opportunities for all students.

Dispelling the Myths of Inclusive Education I The purpose of this document is to share and dispel several common myths about inclusive education for students with disabilities.

Inclusive School Network I The Inclusive School Network is a web-based educational resource for families, schools and communities that promotes inclusive educational practices. Its mission is “to encourage, embolden and empower people to design and implement effective inclusive schools, by sharing insights and best practices and by providing opportunities for connection.”

Priority: Best Practices in Self-Advocacy Skill Building  |  This webpage from the Center for Parent Information and Resources website features a common list of 14 priority topics we are expected to address in building self-advocacy skills. The list comes to us from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) at the U.S. Department of Education.

Common Vocabulary in Inclusive Schools  |  This interactive slideshow teaches parents the common vocabulary used when discussing inclusive opportunities so that they are well equipped to have these discussions with school and district staff.

NJCIE’s INCLUSION WORKS! PARENT MANUAL: A Guide to Inclusion for Families  |  This downloadable version of the guide provides parents with a comprehensive understanding of the benefits of inclusion in schools and how to advocate for it. A project of the Inclusion Works! Parent Group Mentoring Project, developed, in part, with support from a grant from the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities.

START-EPSD Project Inclusion Webinars

View our collection or Inclusion webinars


SPAN Parent Advocacy Network: Promoting Inclusive Practices Utilizing New Jersey Tiered Systems of Supports  |  This webinar and accompanying resources provide an overview of NJTSS and strategies for best practices and how NJTSS can support inclusion. Parents and educators from schools using this framework share strategies in using NJTSS to support inclusion of students with disabilities.

Neurodiversity: What You Need to Know / Neurodiversidad: Lo que necesita saber  |  This online article discusses neurodiversity from the viewpoint that brain differences are normal, rather than deficits. This concept can help reduce stigma around learning and attention issues. The idea of neurodiversity has real benefits for students. It can help frame their challenges as differences, rather than as deficits. It can also shed light on instructional approaches that might help to highlight particular strengths students have. One such approach is Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

The START-EPSD Project is a collaboration between the New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Special Education (NJOSE), and SPAN Parent Advocacy Network. Funded by IDEA Part B funds.