The relationship between child characteristics and placement in specialized versus inclusive early childhood programs
This study examined early childhood placement as a function of child characteristics in terms of chronological age, severity of disability, developmental status, functional abilities, and behavioral characteristics. The study sample consisted of 162 children (69 in specialized programs and 93 in inclusive settings) ranging in age from 11 to 102 months (M = 47.5 months). Children were assessed on the Battelle Developmental Inventory (BDI), the ABILITIES Index, and the Carolina Record of Individual Behavior (CRIB). In general, children enrolled in inclusive programs were found to be more mildly disabled and functioning at higher levels than their counterparts enrolled in programs designed exclusively for children with disabilities. A discriminant function analysis revealed that overall agreement between actual and predicted placement based on child characteristics was 75%, suggesting that other factors may have affected placement decisions for some children. The interaction between chronological age and type of placement was statistically significant for the BDI and approached significance for the CRIB. Implications of these findings for future research are discussed.