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PL 94-142 AND THE LEAST RESTRICTIVE ALTERNATIVE: An Interim Progress Report for Educators

Ted L. Miller and Harvey N. Switzky
The Journal of Education
Vol. 161, No. 3, THE INITIAL IMPACT OF FEDERAL SPECIAL EDUCATION LEGISLATION, PL 94:142 (SUMMER 1979), pp. 60-80
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42772961
Page Count: 21
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
PL 94-142 AND THE LEAST RESTRICTIVE ALTERNATIVE: An Interim Progress Report for Educators
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Abstract

The concept of the least restrictive environment (or alternative) was reviewed as it evolved in law and in special education practice. A distinction was drawn between the concepts of mainstreaming and the least restrictive environment. Mainstreaming refers to placing handicapped youngsters as much as possible in educational situations with nonhandicapped youngsters. The least restrictive environment is a legal abstraction which refers to placing handicapped children in an educational environment that is most suitable for their programmatic needs. Concern was voiced about the multiple bases for implementation of the least restríctive environment notion. These bases necessarily include simultaneous references to the philosophy of normalization, to PL 94-142, and to modes of instruction that optimize learning in all the social-ecological environments that handicapped children inhabit.

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