|Historical Development of Special Education||Areas of Disability|
Historical Development of Special Education
People with exceptionalities were not always protected by laws as they are today. Before, laws like the American with Disabilities Act (1973) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 1997), individuals were referred to as retarded, lunatics, or crazy. Many times people with disabilities were placed into institutions and locked up. Today because of legislation, all individuals with disabilities are required by law to be educated in the public school system. This is referred to as the Free and Appropriate Public Education. Students are also required to have Individual Education Plans written specifically for their needs. Inclusion is another key part of today's special education. All students are to be included into the regular classroom with their peers (Parents as Partners for Education, Berger).
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Areas of Disabilities
In order to receive Special Education services the student must be identified as having at least one of the 13 categories of disabilities. These categories are listed below.
Autism is a developmental disability affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction. It is usually noticeable before the age of three.
Deafness is a hearing impairment that a child can not process linguistic information through hearing.
Deafness-Blindness is hearing and visual impairments. It causes severe communication and other developmental and education problems that a child cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children who are deaf or for children who are blind.
Emotional Disturbance is having inability to learn, build relationships, inappropriate behaviors, physical symptoms, or fears.
Hearing Impairment is an impairment with hearing. Whether it is permanent or fluctuating, it affects the child's educational performance but is not included under the definition of "deafness."
Mental Retardation is when the functioning is significantly below average and it affects the child's educational performance.
Multiple Disabilities is a combination of two or more disabilities that severely affects the child's educational performance.
Orthopedic Impairment includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly, impairments caused by disease, and impairments from other causes.
Other Health Impairment is having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, due to chronic or acute health problems.
Specific Learning Disabilities is a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes reading, listening, thinking, speaking, writing, spelling, or doing math.
Speech or Language Impairment is a communication disorder that affects the educational performance.
Traumatic Brain Injury resulted from a external force.
Visual Impairment, Including Blindness is a visual impairment even with correction that will affect educational performance. Partial vision and blindness.
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The assessment process is done to determine if a child qualifies for Special Education Services. If the educator or the the parent/guardian feel the student is have a difficult time in school, it is essential to assess the problem and implement a Special Education plan. The first step is to test the child's hearing and vision. The problem could be that the child is not hearing or seeing properly. If these two areas test sufficient, then a learning disability evaluation should be performed.
Parents have a federally mandated right to request a learning disability evaluation for your child at the expense of the school district. The test most widely used is the "discrepancy model." This approach involves and educational evaluation. This would include academic achievement testing and a psychological evaluation including an IQ test. An educational evaluation may be performed by a school psychologist or by a private professional trained to test for learning disabilities. A psychological evaluation (IQ test) must be administered by a licensed psychologist.
A child who does not show and IQ/Achievement discrepancy may still qualify for services if he or she performs inadequately in one or more academic areas. If you child does not meet criteria for Special Education services, we may discuss alternative options.
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The I.E.P. stands for the Individualized Education Plan. The I.E.P. is a way for the student, parents, and educators to work together to set specific goals for the student's education. There are several parts to an I.E.P. and parents are always present at the I.E.P. meeting. If at anytime you do not understand something being discussed, please ask questions. Since the I.E.P. is a legally binding agreement, it is important for the families to work with the educators in developing the plan that will most benefit the student.
When teachers or parents suspect that their child may be in need of special education there is a referral made. Then the student will go through an assessment. There are many different tests that may be administered. These tests are usually administered by school psychologist or qualified personnel. Next the parents will meet with the special ed. teacher and the other I.E.P. team members to develop the student's I.E.P. Some of the other members include: regular ed. teacher, special ed. teacher, principal, related services (physical therapists, speech, psychologist, etc), and the student.
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There are several different strategies that I will use in my classroom to ensure that children with special needs have a chance to succeed. I want to be a motivating and exciting factor in your child's education. I believe that students learn best in the Least Restrictive Environment, which will allow them to utilize the classroom and resource room to maximize their success with their school work. When your child has been placed in the Special Education room, an IEP has been developed. It will then be my responsibility to work with your student regarding the goals and objectives that we have established the student needs assistance with. I involve different teaching methods in my classroom to meet the needs of individual students. Examples of these different options are:
~additional practice with activities
~modifications with testing
~use of manipulatives
I will provide supportive feedback and lessons geared specifically toward the needs of your child. I am always open to new ideas so please feel free to contact me with helpful ideas, or if you have any questions, comments and/or concerns.
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The participation of the parents in their child's education is crucial. Parents are truly the ones who know their child the best. Parents need to be active members on the IEP team and assist in making decisions in the child's best interest. Parents can examine records, participate in meeting involving the child's placement and inquire about the free and appropriate education that your child should receive.
The school is required to notify the parents when altering any information relating to the child's education and/or IEP. Parental consent is required before a child may be evaluated, for any changes made to the IEP and for the initial special education placement.
Parents have the right to challenge decisions made regarding their child's education.
The parents also have responsibilities in this education process. They need to contribute during the evaluation, participate with the group decisions determining eligibility, make decisions about their child's education, provide consent for the child to be reevaluated and participate in all meetings. Please try to work with the teachers and school system to find the best possible solution to best meet the needs of your child. Remember, your child's future depends on your actions today.
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Support Links for Parents and Students
Here are some good resource sites that offer you many tips, suggestions, and just general knowledge. If you ever have any concerns please feel free to contact me.
Meet Parents of Children with IEP's in Inclusive Settings
Parent's IEP Report
School Psychology Resources
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