Special Education can be a very rewarding part of education and that is not limited to the teachers who specialize in it. Every teacher can greatly benefit from understanding certain things about special education. The first of which is that all students are capable of great things and so we cannot discriminate against those whose greatness maybe assessed in different ways.
There are a few things to know about special education and this blog is a quick run down of a few of those things. The first thing to know is that every student deserves a”free and appropriate education.This spelled out clearly in IDEA. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act states that any student that has a disability that effects their ability to learn can receive related services according to their needs. This covers ages 3-21 only.
This is separate from another piece of legislature, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. This covers what IDEA does not, including all ages and those who can participate in academic activity but not physical activity.
No matter what everyone should be given a fair chance to learn
One of the most well known cases regarding special education is Brown vs the Board of Education.The case at the time was dealing with civil rights for African Americans but because Brown won the win was for everyone who may be discriminated against. Check out this site for some more information. http://americanhistory.about.com/od/supremecourtcases/p/brown_v_board.htm.
This site also lists several other important cases in Special Education and I encourage you to take some time to check them out yourself.
This video talks about more in depth about specific court cases. One of these cases is Plessy vs. Ferguson. Again dealing with civil rights of African Americans this case would later be used to benefit students with disabilities to gain the education that they deserve.
As an educator you have some responsibilities to every student including those who are in or at risk for special education. Some of these responsibilities include:
referral of a student who may need special ed
monitoring a student to see whether any changes have helped bring the student up to speed
to determine what interventions could help the child and monitor how they respond to RTI
key member of a student’s IEP team to develop a game plan
to know of each student’s IEP in your class
THE MOST IMPORTANT RESPONSIBILITY OF A TEACHER:
TO MEET THE NEEDS OF YOUR STUDENTS.
If you are unsure where to look for more information about what is expected of you as a teacher here is an example of a school districts website that maps out what is expected:
If you want more information about IDEA go to their website at
If you want to read up on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act visit their website at
And make sure that as a teacher you are focusing on your students so that no one falls though the cracks. It is very easy for a student to get lost and never catch back up if no one is there to help them. Education is for everyone and everyone should have the best education they can get.
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