The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) states that persons with disabilities should be guaranteed the right to inclusive education at all levels, regardless of age, without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity, and children with disabilities shall not be excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education on the basis of disability. Despite global calls for action and legal frameworks for inclusion, there is still more that needs to be accomplished to protect and uphold all children and young people’s right to an inclusive quality education. The ADA International Fellowship Program was developed to highlight the importance of educating students with disabilities and creating programs, policies, and support systems to ensure inclusive learning environments.

What is Inclusive Education?

Deaf and non-deaf students learn together in an inclusive classroom in South Dakota.
Deaf and non-deaf students learn together in an inclusive classroom in South Dakota.

Inclusive education happens when students with disabilities are able to access high-quality education while learning alongside their peers without disabilities in the schools they would attend if they did not have a disability. Inclusive education ensures that no student is segregated or excluded from general education because of their disability. Inclusive education ensures that students with disabilities have access to the same curriculum, materials, and instruction as their non-disabled peers, with the accommodations they need to learn.

AUCD Network Program Highlights


AUCD and its member Centers and Programs have worked for the highest quality inclusive education for over 40 years. Working in conjunction with families and local schools, state education agencies, and federal offices of education, AUCD’s university Centers have spearheaded instructional strategies, inclusive education models, early intervention programming, education efforts that embrace cultural diversity, and many more innovations.