What is Special Education
Prior to President John F. Kennedy special education was considered by many to be taboo. President Kennedy really had an impact on America and American schools during his presidency.
Present day Special Education is a set of services that are put into place following diagnostic reviews, parental concerns, and/or teacher concerns. Let it be known however, that Special Education services are not only put into place for students that have specific disabilities, but the Special Education services are also available for students with significantly high abilities. These students are usually referred to as "gifted".
Special Education therefore is a set of guidelines that teachers, parents, and students follow so that each child has a specific educational plan in place. All stakeholders will have input into creating the specific learning objectives for each child with special education services. The idea behind this is so that the children that need the most help in certain educational and social areas will get focused support from not only the classroom teacher, but also from the special education team of teachers. The team of educators, parents, and consultants will eventually meet to create an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) for the child.
This plan will detail specifically the knowledge, skills, and/or attitudes that the educators will focus on to give the child the best chance to succeed. The IEPs are then reviewed periodically throughout the year as necessary and team meetings must occur at least once annually. The special education process allows students with IEPs to remain in public school until they reach the age of 21 years. At that point, it is hopeful that students with IEPs have been given enough educational ability to survive and thrive independently or at least at a group home setting. Although that is not always the case, it is the hope.
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