In the pursuit of inclusive education, many students are taken out of segregated special education settings and brought into general education settings. For some students, this is a full placement move; for others, it is for only a part of their day. Support through this transition is necessary. Students who have been in a special education track have become used to certain expectations, often academically lower ones. They have been stigmatized by their segregation and often internalized that stigma. They have been learning a different curriculum or a modified version of the curriculum. Moreover, students are negotiating the disability or difficulty that spurred the segregation in the first place.
Bringing these students into a general education setting–one likely to have more students, different behavioral expectations, and a more challenging, faster paced curriculum–can be traumatic to both the teacher and the student if it is done without some forethought and planning. It is necessary to consider both the social-emotional component of this type of transition as well as the academic. Students should have time, conversations, and support in moving out of the setting to which they have become accustomed. This should not be a “one day out/next day in scenario.” The school environment needs to be one that anticipates student movement from one environment to the next. There need to be academic supports in all settings for the children who will be learning in them.