What Makes Special Education So Special

Special education is defined as specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities. These types of students can range from partially to severely disabled. Until you have a child requiring special education you can not appreciate the tremendous job the educators who work with these kids do.

Most schools provide some level of special education if your child has a learning disability on any particular area. Some have a full time staff who specialize in various areas to help children. Depending on the severity you may be faced with enrolling your child in a special needs school. This is something you will have to discuss with your teachers and school administrators.

There are many excellent online resources for parents to research and learn things they can do to help their child as well. Just Google searching the keyword phrase “special education” will bring up thousands of results to get you started. Most parents want to be involved in helping their kids and the internet is becoming a big help in this area. One thing you can do is sign up for as many free email newsletters on the subject of special education to easily be kept up to date on a weekly and monthly basis.

One of the primary problems parents and kids both face, when it comes to educating their kids who require special needs, is how to let them interact with other kids. Social development is certainly important to the growth of a child, many times as much so as education itself. It is generally in the best interest of your child to interact with other kids as often as possible.

Of course a common problem is how to deal with insensitive comments made to you child by other kids. As a parent it is only natural to try and protect your child, when it fact it may be better to let them learn how to handle things themselves. Most kids will seek out and want to play and be around other kids who accept them for who they are.

This is an important step in the development in the education of your child. Overall it is important to let your child interact with other kids as early and often as possible. Only step in when you feel it is really necessary and in the long run you are doing your child a favor.

This has been a quick overview on special education and what you can do as a parent to be more involved. The development of special needs children in many ways is more rewarding than other children and knowing you played a role in that is a feeling you will never replace.



Source by Lester Lee

Stop Making Special Education Harder Than it Really Is

Really, It’s Not Rocket Science, You Can Do It!

Most parents either don’t attempt to get fully involved in the special education process or are too involved in the technical side of the process. The bottom line is that your child’s education is to prepare them for further education, employment and independent living as deemed by the federal law IDEA.If your child’s program is not preparing them, then it’s time to start working with the school team for change.

Why are you so overwhelmed with the special education process? Your child has a golden ticket call the IEP to give them an individual curriculum to meet their needs for the future. Children in the general curriculum do not have that option.

Here are some tips on making the system work for you:

  • Network with other parents in your district to see what resources are available.
  • Services that are appropriate for your child must relate to preparation for further education, employment, and independent living.
  • Work from the bottom to the top. Meet with the teacher on tweaking program needs before you call in a supervisor.
  • Write everything down! If you are prepared for negotiations, you probably won’t have to negotiate.

Overall, your parent instincts should guide your decisions about your child’s education. If you don’t feel that you child is being serviced appropriately, they probably aren’t. Follow the simple tips above to make special education work for your family. Becoming a leader on your child’s IEP team will truly bring the entire family success.



Source by Catherine Whitcher

5 Ways to Overcome the Delphi Technique in Special Education!

Are you the parent of a child with a disability who receives special education services? Do you wonder if special education personnel are manipulating the IEP team to make predetermined decisions, usually different than what your child needs? Would you like to learn about the Delphi technique and how to overcome it? This article will give you the ammunition and information you need to overcome the manipulation that is part of the Delphi technique, and finally get your child the special education services they need!

The Delphi technique was initially developed so that experts in a particular field would be able to come to a consensus. Over the years the use has been distorted so that now it is being used to pit members of one group against members of another group. This is done by the meeting facilitator who asks all members of the group what their position on the issue at hand is. They find other group members that agree with their position, and manipulate them to turn against the members of the group that do not agree with them. This is an unethical way to get the group to agree to whatever the predetermined outcome was!

This technique is being used in special education to pit IEP team members against parents and any other people that take the parents side.

Below are 5 ways to overcome the Delphi technique for your child’s benefit:

1. Recognize when the technique is being used, and expose it! Take copies of information on the Delphi technique to any school meeting especially an IEP meeting if you suspect that this technique is being used! Exposure is one way to overcome this unethical technique!

2. Always be charming-never at any point become angry! No matter how many personal attacks come or what the facilitator says stay calm! Why? Because if the facilitator or coordinator can get you angry then they look like the victim. By staying calm despite personal attacks will make you look like the victim, and not the coordinator. Other group members may them take your side because it looks like you are being verbally attacked!

3. Stay focused on the issue and your position on the issue. Use my favorite advocacy technique-repeat, repeat, repeat! If the facilitator tries and puts you on the defensive and change the subject keep repeating what your opinion or question is over and over until the facilitator actually answers the question.

4. If the coordinator begins a long dragged out dissertation on the issue listen calmly. They are trying to distract you and get you angry. When the person is finished bring up your opinion or the question again! Stay focused on the particular issue at hand and do not be distracted.

5. It is important to note that if this technique is being used in a larger meeting, say a school board meeting, it will look a little different. If the people that disagree with the meeting coordinator remain calm and keep bringing the subject back to the issue at hand; the person may ask for a break. Stay away from people that agree with you, and do a little spying on the coordinator and their group of people. This tactic will prevent them from sending in spies to your group, so that they can find out what your next step is!

I think the hardest part of overcoming this technique is to not become upset when you are personally attacked in a meeting-IEP or other type of meeting. I have been called names and told that I am stupid for caring and defending children with disabilities rights, to an appropriate education. My feeling is that if they are attacking me they have nothing to counter what I am saying, and I do not let it bother me.

The Delphi technique must be found, exposed and overcome for the good of all children with disabilities!



Source by JoAnn Collins

Tips for Setting Up a Special Education Classroom

When dealing with special needs children, setting up the classroom may be one of the most important things you can do to make your year successful. Many special needs children regardless of their diagnosis have similar things they find difficult. Below are many ideas to help the teacher arrange and get the classroom ready for the year to begin.

1. Make a visual schedule for students to follow each day.

2. Put tennis balls on the bottom of the chairs to decrease the sound in the room.

3. Be very aware of sensory issues. If a child is overwhelmed by sensory stimuli in the classroom this is going to distract them making it impossible for them to concentrate.

4. Prompt students when they get off task. Sometimes this may be just walking over to the student and putting a hand on their back.

5. Use things like visual supports however make sure the visual supports aren’t so cluttered the child becomes overwhelmed by it.

6. Teach organization. This can be a notebook with all their information in one place.

7. Have open communication with parents so they can follow through and there is a consistent way of doing things.

8. Model appropriate behaviors.

9. Many children have problems with memory, help make flashcards so they can find what they are looking for and help them study.

10. Seek out and understand success as much as possible.

11. Break tasks into smaller tasks. Don’t give them a huge task or a list of assignments and expect them to follow through. They are much more successful when its broken down.

12. Go for quality rather than quantity with classwork and homework. Keep in mind, many children with special needs take medication and remember that the medications are wearing off by the end of the day. Before assigning homework is it really necessary?

13. Make consequences logical and reward often. Come up with a reward system so the children are getting positive reinforcement on a continuous basis.

14. Use privacy boards when there are things going on around the room.

15. Move student’s desk to where there are fewer distractions. Most of the time that will be beside the teacher, up front or beside a quite child.

16. Many times it’s better to use rows for seating if possible. Group seating is just too much stimuli for them.

17. Keep a portion of the room free from visual stimuli, noise and windows.

18. Use headphones to play while noise or soft music to help block out what is going on in the classroom.

19. State directions, write them down, speak them and repeat. Special needs children need information more than once and in multiple formats.

20. Be sure to get eye contact. They sometimes are not “able” to pay attention. Reward or praise them when they do have eye contact. This is very difficult for them.

21. Allow escape if a child can’t deal with a problem. Allow them to go to the assigned area in the classroom where they can go and calm down.

See how these tips help. Please leave me a comment and let me know if they were helpful.



Source by Kerry B Johnson

6 Ways That School Districts May Use Special Education Funds From ARRA Funds of 2009

Are you the parent of a child with autism receiving special education services? Are their services that your child needs but your school district is refusing to provide? Have you heard that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has extra money for special education services? Would you like to know a few items that school districts may spend the money on? This article will give __ suggestions on what the ARRA money for special education can be spent on.

The ARRA funds have 4 principles that are attached to them. Principle 1: Spend funds quickly to save and create jobs. Principle 2: Improve student achievement through school improvement and reform. Principle 3: Ensure transparency, reporting and accountability. Principle 4: Invest one time ARRA funds thoughtfully to minimize the funding cliff.

Funds need to be used for short term investments that have the potential for long term benefits.

6 Suggestions for use of special education ARRA funds are:

1. Teacher salaries and salaries for other trained educators. Possible use could also be trained para professionals that will help a child benefit from an inclusive placement.

2. Scientifically research based curriculums in the areas of reading and math, which are required by No Child Left Behind and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Many school districts are continuing to use outdated curriculums that are not proven to help children learn reading and math. Once a school district purchases the curriculum and trains their teachers the benefits will continue for years to come.

3. Obtain state of the art assistive technology devices and also provide training in their use to enhance access to the general curriculum for students with disabilities.

4. Provide intensive district wide professional training for regular and special education teachers, that focuses on research based curriculums and strategies in the areas of reading, math, writing, and science.

5. Provide intensive district wide professional development in the area of positive behavioral supports and plans to improve outcomes for children with disabilities. Many children with disabilities are continuing to be suspended and expelled for behavior that is part of their disability; though this is not allowed under IDEA. School wide use of positive behavioral supports and plans will benefit all children not just those with disabilities.

6. Hire transition coordinators to work with employers in the community to develop job placements and training for youths with disabilities. This will ensure that children graduating will have a job and a future!

These are just a few suggestions that can benefit all children with disabilities in America. I hope that you will get involved with your school district and have input on how the money will be spent to benefit children with disabilities in your district!



Source by JoAnn Collins