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Self-contained Classroom

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Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders


Life skills classroom; Separate classroom; Special education classroom


The term “self-contained classroom” refers to a classroom, where a special education teacher is responsible for the instruction of all academic subjects. The classroom is typically separated from general education classrooms but within a neighborhood school. A self-contained classroom is a special education placement that falls near the middle of a continuum of program options that range in restrictiveness, where the general education classroom is least restrictive and a hospital or a homebound placement is most restrictive. Student-to-teacher ratios in self-contained classrooms are usually smaller than in general education classrooms and other less restrictive special education placements such as resource classrooms. Children who are placed in self-contained classrooms often have multiple, intensive support needs and require a comprehensive and highly structured educational and/or behavioral...

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References and Readings

  • Chen, G. (2009). Understanding self-contained classrooms in public schools. Public School Review. Retrieved from

  • Heward, W. L. (2009). Exceptional children: An introduction to special education (9th ed.). Columbus, OH: Pearson.

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Correspondence to Trina D. Spencer .

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© 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York

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Spencer, T.D. (2013). Self-contained Classroom. In: Volkmar, F.R. (eds) Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Springer, New York, NY.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, New York, NY

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4419-1697-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4419-1698-3

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