The purpose of my study is to assess how well the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) clause of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is implemented in special education classrooms for students with autism in rural schools. More specifically, I am looking at the role of stress levels in special education teachers in the extent to which students in their classrooms are involved in inclusive activities. Inclusion references activities or subjects for which students with disabilities are included with students without disabilities in the general education classroom. Inclusion is critical to the LRE clause of the IDEA and the well-being of students academically and socially. I am conducting an analysis of New York State’s implementation of the IDEA and state-specific special education policy. In addition, I am surveying professionals in special education classrooms including teachers, teaching assistants, and related service providers in rural schools in order to assess levels of stress, burnout, and inclusive practices in their classrooms. I hypothesize that higher stress levels in practitioners will be associated with less inclusive practices because practitioners that are stressed may not have the extra time or energy necessary to provide their students with these experiences. These results are analyzed in light of the state of special education today and whether faculty are properly supported to provide the experiences critical to the development of special education students. The discussion focuses on considering whether the policies in place produce the desired effects and whether adjustments are warranted in policy or funding to do so.