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Special Education

What exactly is special education?
(Compiled using information from www.nysut.org)

Federal and state education laws require each school district to provide all students with a "free and appropriate public education" based upon their unique needs. Special education is specially designed instruction, services or programs provided by a school system to help meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.

 

In New York State, special education is provided for pre-school students (ages 3-5) and school-age children (ages 5-21). Special education may include specially designed instruction or supplementary instruction and services provided in the general education class; help from a consultant teachers; resource room programs; special classes; home and/or hospital instruction or programs; and services provided in other public or private schools.

 

Click on the highlighted text to learn more:

Who receives special-education services?

Special-education services are available to any student with a mental, physical or emotional impairment that affects his or her educational performance.

 

For school-age children, these may include autism, deafness, deaf-blindness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, learning disability, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairments, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury or visual impairment (including blindness).

 

How are special-education services provided?

Special-education services and programs may be provided individually to a student or in a group with other students who have similar educational needs.

 

Every school district is required to form a Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) for children ages 3-5, and a Committee on Special Education for children ages 5-21. When a parent or teacher believes a child might benefit from special education, the district's committee plays an important role. It reviews referrals from parents and teachers, arranges for student evaluations and reviews the results.

 

In consultation with the student's parents, the committee makes recommendations about what a student needs in the way of special-education services and programs, which are described in detail in a written plan for each child, known as the Individual Education Plan (IEP). The IEP determines the specifics of a child's special-education program, such as specific classroom set-up, curricula, support services and educational goals.

 

The federal Individuals Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) establishes a prominent and active role for parents and teachers in planning and implementing educational programs for students with disabilities. Parents work hand in hand with their child's teachers and other district staff to formulate their child's IEP. A child's IEP is reviewed annually to ensure that it still is meeting the child's needs. Students are re-evaluated at least once every three years.

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