written by a Special Education TeacherFeb 25, 2005 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line Special Education varies depending on what community you live in and what services your child requires. Learn all you can about what Special Education looks like in your community.
Special Education is a funny term. Not funny, "ha-ha", but funny complicated. It has a lot of connotations to it- SPED, Retard, Dummy... I can go on. However it also has a lot of great things. Special Education is supposed to be Individualized Instruction. That means, in theory, someone will be working with your child on exactly what your child needs. Now, I hear everyone asking... "being in the field, is that what really happens?". I can tell you, "maybe". It all depends- What school system are you in? Who is the Special Educator? Is it a public school or a private special education school? How severe is your child's needs? How many children are on the Special Educator's case load? The answers to these question make Special Education a success or a failure.
When I worked in a public school system I did not agree with the administration on many issues. I taught a severe special education class (my kids were at least 3 years behind grade level). I had 10 students and they were divided between three grades and four homerooms. With the lack of support that I had as well as the huge variety of needs which the kids had I was not able to individualize as much as I should have. I couldn't help the kids as much as I wanted. Now I work in a Collaborative which is an "outside placement". Students with special needs from over 10 different communities ride buses to my building. I now have 7 students whose needs are very similar. Because of the similarities in need, as well as the support of the administration, I can teach these children what they need to learn.
If your child is going to be part of the Special Education Community, you need to look closely at the program. You need to fight to make sure that your child is getting what they need. You will need to do your homework and learn your rights. (And it doesn't hurt to become friendly and be nice to your special education teacher :) ).
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