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MedEd Connections Resource Guide: Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH)

What Does Least Restrictive Environment or LRE Mean?

Least restrictive environment (LRE) is a term used in special education, associated with where services and supports are delivered. Simply defined, it means the environment that is most like the typical school environment – where same-aged peers might receive instruction. It can be thought of specialized supports and services that go with the student to make an educational setting accessible. For students to qualify for special education, they need specialized supports and services, and these are different for every student. Some examples may include technology, and special service providers such as an interpreter, paraprofessional, or a speech and language pathologist (SLP). Special service providers may support students inside or outside of the classroom. Your child’s LRE is constructed by identifying your child’s needs and then deciding what can address those needs.

LRE needs may change as your child grows. Be sure that your team has the relevant medical information that could impact how your child accesses educational materials and environments.

OCALI’s Least Restrictive Environment Video
Watch this short video for additional clarification about the term Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).