Inclusion: A position statement of the Division for Early Childhood (DEC)

of the Council for Exceptional Children and endorsed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), adopted by DEC in April 1993, endorsed by NAEYC in November 1993.

Inclusion, as a value, supports the right of all children, regardless of their diverse abilities, to participate actively in natural settings within their communities. A natural setting is one in which the child would spend time had he or she not had a disability. Such settings include, but are not limited to, home and family, play groups, child care, nursery schools, Head Start programs, kindergartens, and neighborhood school classrooms.

DEC believes in and supports full and successful access to health, social service, education, and other supports and services for young children and their families that promote full participation in community life. DEC values the diversity of families and supports a family-guided process for determining services that are based on the needs and preferences of individual families and children.

To implement inclusive practices, DEC supports

(a) the continued development, evaluation, and dissemination of full inclusion supports, services, and systems so that the options for inclusion are of high quality; (b) the development of pre-service and in-service training programs that prepare families, administrators, and service providers to develop and work within inclusive settings; (c) collaboration among all key stakeholders to implement flexible fiscal and administrative procedures in support of inclusion; (d) research that contributes to our knowledge of state-of-the-art services; and (e) the restructuring and unification of social, education, health, and intervention supports and services to make them more responsive to the needs of all children and families.

This statement is an official position of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.