Special Education Services
Special Education is the practice of differentiating education in order to meet the needs of each individual student. Students who are identified as needing special education services receive targeted intervention services and systematic, frequent monitoring. Services for those in need of specialized education usually include the following:
- Modified instruction
- Smaller classroom setting
- Adapted materials
It may take time for some students to be identified as qualifying for special educations services. Other students who go to school with preexisting diagnosed medical conditions may immediately qualify for special education services. Some of these medical conditions include brain damage, developmental disorders, intellectual disabilities, mobility concerns, or visual or hearing impairment. For the students who do not come with preexisting medical diagnosis, the process can take months or years. Most school systems have moved to a response to intervention model for identifying students.
Students, who are identified as needing services, receive an Individualized Education Plan or IEP. The IEP is a legally binding document that sets goals and a plan for the support a student needs. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, all schools must provide free public education to all students from ages 3-22, even students with disabilities. School and school system funding is tied to compliance with this law.
Once a student has been identified and has an IEP, they will work with a teacher in a small group for more individualized instruction. Accommodations may be made to help the student make progress and feel successful. The goal of most special education programs is to teach a student in the least restrictive environment. This means that when possible, a student will receive instruction in core subjects in their regular education classroom and either receive pull out instruction during other times in the day or have a Special Education Teacher in the general education class with him/her.