Least Restrictive Environment
Although the ideas and reasons for inclusive education are very noble and can
have a positive effect on many disabled students, mandating inclusion for all
disabled students denies some the opportunity to appropriately learn in the
least restrictive environment (LRE) as required by law. The fight for inclusive
education has made enormous gains from when the National Association of Retarded

Children was established in 1950 to 1990 when the public law called the

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), P.L. 94-142, was revised.

Educational systems have moved from not providing education at all for the
disabled to providing schools for the disabled separate from non-disabled
students. Recently "normal" schools have been practicing inclusion and
have free rein to determine exactly how. The problem facing policy makers today
is whether or not all disabled children should be inclusioned. If the policy
makers would just observe the disabled students being inclusioned and ignore all
the rhetoric being presented to them, they will find that not all disabled
children benefit from inclusion. On July 13,1996, Omer Zak compiled several
articles the deaf and professionals who work with the deaf had submitted to him
and presented them on the Internet under the title Deaf Persons and Experts

Speak Out Against Inclusion. One of the writings submitted was entitled
"Interpreter Isn\'t Enough!" written by Leah Hager Cohen. The author is
an interpreter for an eleventh grade deaf student that is being inclusioned in a
regular school. Cohen explains how the deaf student will sit quietly by herself
before class begins while the rest of the students are socializing and
interacting with each other. The piece goes on to explain how the deaf student
must look at the interpreter during class in order to receive the lesson being
presented by the teacher. When the student looks takes her eyes off the
interpreter to write in her notes the interpreter must stop signing. When the
student looks back to the interpreter she begins signing again. The more often
the student stops to write in her notes the farther behind the teacher the
interpreter gets. As the interpreter falls behind she must try to catch up
causing a loss of information. If the teacher adds a visual aid such as a map or
a chart, the student must concentrate on three things causing her to fall even
farther behind. The deaf student rarely has the opportunity to be the one to
answer a question asked by the teacher due to the delay caused by using an
interpreter. Before the interpreter even gets the question signed another
student has answered it. Cohen also explains that while a teacher will ask her
how the student is doing many teachers will decline an invitation to ask the
student herself via the interpreter. That declination has a tendency to alienate
the deaf student even more. Joe Murray also contributed an article to Zak.

Murray is a deaf person who was fully "inclusioned" throughout his
academic career up and including college. Murray was by most standards a very
successful student. He participated in sports and other extra curricular
activities along with going to Europe as an exchange student. Murray explains
how in the mist of all his success he felt he was not living up to his potential
and could not do so out side the deaf community. Murray had to make a
concentrated effort at everything he did where as if he was in an environment
with his deaf peers the flow of information and activity would have happened
more naturally. One of the biggest argument supporters of full inclusion try to
present is the fact that disabled students and non-disabled students will have
the opportunity to socially interact with each other. It is hoped that this
interaction will break down the prejudices and misconceptions people have about
the disabled. In the case of a deaf student the opposite holds true. In a school
for the deaf the students can communicate and interact freely without any
restrictions. When a deaf child is placed in a school for the hearing that child
is isolated from the rest of her classmates. In order for successful learning to
take place a student must feel valued and comfortable in the classroom (Ormrod).

If a deaf child is isolated from her classmates due to the lack of communication
she will never gain the feeling of being valued or comfortable. The information
processing abilities of students must be taken into consideration when placing
them in any academic situation. Students need time to be able to think about and
draw conclusions on what is being taught (Ormrod). If a