The least restrictive environment is sometimes impacted by the population size found in any district. A “critical mass” is integral to providing a language rich environment for students who are D/HH, but what is “critical mass?”
Least Restrictive Environment
Least restrictive environment is student-based (NASDSE, 2018).
The concept of least restrictive environment (LRE) is a foundational element of IDEA for all students with disabilities. The Florida Department of Education published a Technical Assistance Paper (TAP) in 2016, “Least Restrictive Environment Considerations Related to Individual Education Plans.” When a student is deaf or hard of hearing, the articles in the TAP and additional considerations are not only warranted, but may be necessary, to ensure that the student receives a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in an environment that is least restrictive to them. “The disability of deafness often results in significant and unique educational needs for the individual child. The major barriers to learning associated with deafness relate to language and communication, which, in turn, profoundly affect most aspects of the educational process.” (U.S. Department of Education, 1992).
The FLIPP is a multi-purpose data-based discussion tool that presents a ‘picture’ of standardized and functional assessments for children who are D/HH. It helps determines a student’s needs of their educational programming, including placement in the least restrictive environment.