I have learned so much about children since I first began to teach many years ago. With all of the new laws and testing, some students fall between the cracks. All students are entitled to a free and appropriate education. According to the law, children are protected under state law. Students with special needs receive services using the Individualized Education Program. Federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) governs special education. The best part about the services is that they are free. There is no cost to the parent. Instruction, support, and environment are specially designed to meet the needs of students.
There are thirteen categories that are covered under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). They are as follows: Autism, Deaf or Blindness, Developmental Delays, Emotional Disturbance, Hearing Impairments, Mental Retardation (Intellectual Disabilities), Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairments, Other Health Impairments, Specific Learning Disabilities, Speech and Language Impairments, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Visual Impairments. Gifted and Talented is actually covered under IDEA, which is federal, but may not be included in some states.
The Individual Education Program outlines a course of action that will be taken to provide services in the least restrictive environment. Special needs can range from learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, communication disabilities, or developmental disabilities. An individual plan allows each child to receive a customized plan for an education, as well as transitions beyond high school.
The two most common types of setting in which services are received are inclusion and mainstream. Inclusion services are received in a regular classroom with non-disabled peers. In this situation, the general curriculum is modified. Accommodations are also used to allow students to benefit from the same curriculum.
Mainstreaming is used when students with special needs are educated in a special education classroom. Their interaction with regular education students are limited to specific time periods based on their skill level. Every child deserves a free education regardless of the disability. The Individuals with Disabilities Act make it possible for this to happen. Thousands of children have disabilities. Each child can learn with a specialized plan.
Psalm 127:3-5 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
Celestine A. Gatley
A Designed Transformation
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