The district I work for will be doing extreme full-inclusion next year, to the extent that high schools and middle schools will have no separate special ed classes for content areas. As much as I appreciate the need for inclusion, we seem to reach a point where including profoundly learning disabled students in the mainstream classes is not a good choice for either group. We have actually begun this; in one sixth grade "house," we have five students who are included in standard classes. Two have moderate to severe autism, one has Down's, one CP, and the last several issues going on. Only one reads above a first-grade level, math consists of counting money in the school store, and only one is verbal enough to understand and communicate.
Obviously, this is more than simple differentiation. In this case, each child needs a great deal of support. A special ed teacher works in the classroom with the group, but with a difference in ability exceeding five years, there is a tremendous difference to bridge. But beginning next year, this will be the "new normal" in our district.
Yesterday as the class attempted to plot earthquake data on a map, I was hoping to get the kids to put together a Pangaea puzzle, thinking that a few pieces might make it more understandable.
So, how do the rest of you handle differentiation within a class that may have ability levels several grades above level to those at a preschool level, and who are largely non-verbal?