“Inclusion” differs from “Mainstreaming” or “Integration” in significant ways. “Mainstreaming” is when students with disabilities “earn” the opportunity to be educated in the general education classroom for one or more classes by demonstrating “readiness.”
Inclusion involves supporting students with disabilities through individualized supports so they are able to access the general education curriculum.
The image below, posted by Think Inclusive at www.thinkinclusive.us, displays how models of segregation, exclusion, and integration differ from inclusion. In a segregated model, students with disabilities are taught in smaller classes, completely separated from the general education setting. In an integration model, students with disabilities placed in a general education setting but still taught separately from peers differ significantly from inclusion.