What is the “least restrictive environment”
It is important as a parent to be aware of what “the least restrictive environment” is. The least restrictive environment (LRE) is often referred to when placing students who have IEPs into a SPED (Special Education) program. Least restrictive refers to the environment that will allow the student to have the most access to general education to be successful academically. This could mean one or two classes in the general education setting or all classes in the general education setting with some support from a special education teacher who acts as the student’s case manager to consult with the general education teacher to make sure accommodations and students needs are shared.
As a parent, it’s important to be aware of your child’s academic needs so that they can be placed appropriately and receive the support they need. Prior to an IEP meeting, think about what kind of classes you think that your child will benefit from most; for example should they be in a general education math class or be placed in a resource/sped (special education) math class or a math class that is taught by a general education teacher and special education teacher. These are just some of the configurations that currently are being used within the public school system.
As a special education teacher, I’ve tried to create classroom schedules that benefit the students on my caseload so that they can be exposed to the general education curriculum and setting as much as possible while at the same time receiving the support they need.