What is Special Education?

Special Education is the practice of educating students who have special needs in a way that specifically addresses their individual requirements. These exceptional children are typically underprepared for the general classroom setting and require a variety of special assistance to aid them in becoming better prepared to enter a general classroom environment.

Special Education does not refer to disabilities nor does it reflect negatively on the child. Special Education is not a place but a process where a child will receive the assistance they need to navigate their educational careers. A child may require special education services for a variety of reasons; learning disabilities, communication disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, developmental disabilities and intellectual giftedness.

Special Education services can be offered to a student through the use of an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). This plan will provide the student with a direct path and plan that is fully tailored to them in order to give them the best chance at success and possibly preparing them for introduction into a general classroom environment.

In some cases, Special Education services are being given to children who continue to thrive in a general classroom environment and only require a slight adjustment for them from the rest of the students. The more a student is able to thrive in a general classroom environment, the sooner they typically adjust and eventually overcome the need for their IEP.

Special Education services are designed to offer several components working together to assist the student. Often this can be the team of teachers and administrators ensuring the student have a modified curriculum, environmental accommodations and physical assistance. For some students the educational need includes collaboration between parents, the school and DIS services, friendship/facilitation, consultation with specialists, behavior support plans, and/or staff development.

Special Education should be:

  • Based on assessment results
  • Individual
  • Considered using various factors
  • Outcome oriented
  • Lined to the standards
  • Monitored and modified
  • Not just a place to send students

Special Education should not be:

  • Synonymous with under-achievement
  • Only remediation
  • Separate
  • Just small group instruction
  • For students with behavior problems
  • For substance exposed students
  • For students whose special needs can be met in a general education environment

Special Education is designed to aid children in their education and work toward them becoming capable and prepared to participate in the general education environment as quickly as possible. By working with professionals in the field of Special Education and creating an IEP for your student, your child can gain the assistance they need to learn how to overcome any difficulties they might be experiencing.