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in education, practice of teaching handicapped children in regular classrooms with nonhandicapped children to the fullest extent possible; such children may have orthopedic, intellectual, emotional, or visual difficulties or handicaps associated with hearing or learning. The practice is also called inclusion. Mainstreaming has been of increasing interest since the late 1960s in response to a number of factors: research showing that many handicapped students learned better in regular than in special classes; charges that racial imbalances existed in special education classes; and the civil-rightscivil rights,
rights that a nation's inhabitants enjoy by law. The term is broader than "political rights," which refer only to rights devolving from the franchise and are held usually only by a citizen, and unlike "natural rights," civil rights have a legal as well as a
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 movement with its stress on the rights of the individual. The federal Education for All Handicapped Children Act (1975), which stated that all handicapped children are entitled to a "free and appropriate" education in the "least restrictive environment," has been widely interpreted as supporting the expansion of mainstreaming.

Mainstreaming has worked well with those segments of the special student population whose disabilities are compatible with a classroom setting and is felt in general to better prepare special students socially for life after school. It has also helped other school children gain a greater understanding of those with disabilities. It has been controversial, however, with students who have emotional or behavioral difficulties that may be disruptive to the entire class. In addition, some worry that children with special needs cannot be given adequate attention in an integrated class.

References in periodicals archive ?
The mainstreaming process also allows such organisations to legitimise themselves.
Gender mainstreaming in health: looking back, looking forward.
This study tried to find out how far the CPA and National Interim Constitution address the issues of Gender Mainstreaming.
What is really at stake probably isn't the purported mainstreaming of pornography but the ever more startling apparitions of the pornographic within the mass media.
Ninety-seven percent of the camps plan to continue mainstreaming campers with disabilities, and 100 percent indicated an interest in participating in future inclusionary practices research.
In a 3-year ethnographic study of mainstreaming, regular teachers described the success of mainstreamed students in terms of their classroom academic behavior: attendance, homework, attention, participation, preparation for class, basic skills, and scores on tests (Truesdell, 1985).
Mainstreaming children with learning disabilities: Have we improved their social environment?
The addition of Best Buy to our distribution channel strengthens our position as the mainstreaming leader, with Westinghouse LCD TVs available in more than 1,100 retail stores coast to coast at prices that are 30 percent lower than just seven months ago.