The least restrictive environment (LRE) is a legal principle fostering the social integration of people with disabilities. Social policies in the United States require public agencies to administer programs in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities so that they can interact with others in typical community settings. The LRE principle guides decisions about where an individual might receive the necessary services to have life experiences considered by most community members to be desirable. Decisions about placements in the LRE are made on an individual basis and selected from a continuum of alternatives ranging from less restrictive community-based settings to more restrictive hospital and residential settings. Ensuring a continuum of alternative placements allows for the establishment of social ...

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