What is Special Education? Special education is specially designed instruction that meets the unique and individual needs of a child who has a disability. Special education is governed by federal law, called the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Special education is definded under IDEA as "Specially designed instruction at no cost to the parent, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability." Special education law has thirteen categories of special education. Each category has its own detailed requirements. Special education pertains to students ages 3-22 who attend a public school.
How does a child qualify for special education? To qualify, a child must have been identified as having one of the thirteen disabilities, and, it must adversely impact his/her educational performance. A child who is suspected to need special education services can be referred to the school's special education committee by the parents, teachers, or both. Every school district has the legal responsibility to identify and assess children who are suspected of needing special education services. Before the school can begin any formal testing, the parents must sign a consent form.
What are the thirteen categories of special education included in IDEA?
- Deaf or Blindness
- Developmental Delays
- Emotional Disturbance
- Hearing Impairments
- Intellectually Disabled
- Multiple Disabilities
- Orthopedic Impairments
- Other Health Impairments
- Specific learning Disabilities
- Speech and language Impairments
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Visual Impairments
What is an Individual Education Plan (IEP)? After the child qualifies for special education services, an IEP is developed by the child's educational team which includes the parents. The IEP contains goals, objectives, additional supports, accommodations, and modifications that the child needs. The ultimate goal is to help the child reach his/her highest potential.
Going Forward: In future blogs I will explain special education services in more detail. There are so many facets to special education. I will also go more in depth in each of the thirteen categories included in the Individuals with Disabilities Act. I believe in special education deeply. My goal is to spread the word on just how special all education is. If you suspect your child needs special education services I would start by contacting your child's school district.
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Children's Book Review:
Today I am sharing with you one of my childhood favorites that has been re-released as a 50th Anniversary version, it is Harry the Dirty Dog written by Gene Zion. Just like many children, Harry the dog does not like to get baths! To avoid getting a bath, harry runs away from home! Harry plays hard all day and gets so dirty that his family doesn't recognize him when he gets home! I will not spoil the ending, though most of my readers have probably read this book as a child! Harry the Dirty Dog, is the first of a four part series. the Harry books are great and I highly recommend sharing them with the children in your lives.Though, I must admit when I saw the 50th anniversary edition in a small bookshop in Vermont, I had to buy it for myself! I have posted a You-tube Video of Betty White reading Harry the Dirty Dog on my profile page.