Caught in the Continuum – Steve Taylor 1988

Steven J. Taylor (d- Nov. 2014)
Syracuse University

This article presents a critical analysis of the princi­ple of the least restrictive environment (LRE) – its origins and how LRE has been operationalized in terms of a continuum of residential, educational, and voca­tional services. The author presents seven concep­tual and philosophical flaws or pitfalls in the LRE prin­ciple itself, especially when it is applied to people with severe disabilities. The author argues that an un­critical acceptance of LRE may’ lead to the establish­ment of a “new” community-based continuum. It is noted that many leading writings in the field can be interpreted to legitimate this new contin­uum. The conclusion supports an uncon­ditional commitment to integration and briefly con­trasts integration with LRE as a guiding principle for the design of services and support for people with de­velopmental disabilities.

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