What is Least Restrictive Environment?
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) describes the placement of students with special needs alongside their typically developed peers in the regular classrooms to the extent which is deemed appropriate. In practice, this means that a child should only receive special classes or be removed from a regular environment if the nature/severity of his disability is not suitable with supplementary aid in the regular classroom (Bowerman, 2013, p.2). For the purpose of this discussion, least restrictive environment is used to describe anything that is not a regular classroom environment.
Every student with special needs should be given the chance to start-off in a general classroom with the amount of support that is necessary for them to succeed. If such an environment does not allow him/her to be successful, a restrictive environment for learning deemed to be more appropriate is then used. If assessment data indicates that your child’s learning goals cannot be met in that setting with the help of support services, teachers and IEP team members should then provide an explanation as to why your child should be pulled out of the general education classroom. In other words, IEP team members should begin placement discussions for your child with the consideration of the general education classroom.