The aim of the study reported in this paper was to develop substantive theory regarding how teachers manage their classroom work when they are placed in the position of having a student with a severe or profound intellectual disability included in their class. The result was the theory of selective adaptation. The theory proposes that teachers can be classified as 'technicians', 'strategists', or 'improvisers' according to the extent to which they selectively adapt their classroom practices. Furthermore, there is a correspondence between the extent to which teachers selectively adapt their classroom work and the impact of inclusion on their lives. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.