Your Child’s Special Education

As a parent, creating a specialized education plan for a child with a disability can be a daunting task. Depending on the school district, there may be unique expectations or methodologies, but there are a few key elements of special education that you will encounter no matter where you live.

Key Element of Special Education

Local Policies and Rules

It is beneficial for any parent in the special needs community to understand key policy rulings that affect both the community and their child’s special education. A particular act that has long-lasting impact in the education of special needs students is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA is incredibly important to special education, because the main point is to help students with disabilities recieve a proper education.

Individual and Unique Needs

Parents should also understand the importance of individualization in their child’s special education. Each student learns and develops differently, and to assist in the personalization of education, every special education program uses Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). With an IEP, parents and teachers work together to find ways to ensure a child’s success in school. It is important that parents research what exactly goes into an IEP and a child’s rights before creating one with the school, because it is a legally binding document; the better prepared a parent is, the better they are able to advocate for their child.

Special Education Teachers

Other key elements of special education are a student’s teachers. A variety of professionals will most likely interact with your child if they are receiving special education services. Depending on their individual needs, they may meet with the following professionals in school: a generalized special education teacher, occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech pathologist, transition and vocational coordinator, and classroom aide. Outside of school, a student is also likely to make use of specialists again depending on the need. One of the more common specialists is an early intervention specialistFor more information on these professionals, explore our Careers page.