What Are Special Education Needs?

Special Education is a type of education that helps students with disabilities.

Disabilities can be physical, intellectual, emotional, or developmental. Special education aims to provide equal learning opportunities for all students to reach their full potential. Doesn’t matter what challenges they may face.

In the past, educators often left out or kept students with disabilities separate from other students. However, now, things have changed. We believe that we should include and integrate students with disabilities into regular classrooms. 

It’s important for them to learn and grow alongside their peers.

History of Special Education

Long ago, in ancient Greece and Rome, some people abandoned or left children with disabilities to perish.

Things started to change in the mid-1800s. Schools for children with disabilities began to appear in Europe and the United States.

In the early 1900s, a movement called eugenics believed that people with disabilities should not have children. They considered disabilities to be bad and that they shouldn’t be passed on to future generations. However, not everyone agreed with this idea. Some people started to develop a new way of thinking called Special education.

Special education is a field of study that focuses on providing special care and instruction for children with disabilities. People actively supported its growth. They believed that every child deserves a chance to learn and receive support, regardless of the challenges they may face.

In the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement shed light on the unfair treatment of individuals with disabilities. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1975 were passed as a result. 

These laws say that individuals with special needs have the right to get an education that is free for them to learn and grow. The term “special needs” includes people of any age, from young children to elderly individuals, who need extra support. 

Conditions that include intellectual impairments, autism spectrum disorders, physical disabilities, emotional or behavioral problems, and learning disabilities fall under the umbrella of special needs.

Why is Special Education Important?

To engage fully in education for employment and community life, people with special needs frequently need extra help and accommodation. 

Special education, assistive technology, or physical environment adaptations may all be included in this.

These people may also require therapy or medical intervention to be able to reach their full potential and engage fully in their communities.

Depending on the needs of the individual student, special education programs strive to offer tailored instruction and assistance.

The purpose is to help kids with disabilities achieve in school and beyond.

Inclusion of children with Special Needs

The aim of special education is to provide all students with an equitable opportunity to learn and achieve their full potential.

Parents also play a crucial role in their child’s special education. Parents have legal protections to make sure their child gets the resources and education they require.

Additionally, parents have the right to be fully informed about all matters concerning their child’s education. Moreover, they should participate in decisions and can use mediation or due process if they disagree with the school.

They can even ask for an evaluation to see if their child qualifies for special education.

Moreover, they’re the ones to give permission before their child starts the special education program.

Special education is always changing to keep up with new research and technology.

As our understanding of how to help students with disabilities improves, special education programs can become more effective.

To make sure that students with disabilities have the best possible opportunities to learn and succeed, it is crucial to establish a connection with advancements in research and development (R&D) and technology.

These efforts aim to support students with disabilities in achieving success in their lives.

Some of the trends in special education include inclusive education, assistive technology, response to intervention (RTI), transition planning, and multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS).

Early Childhood Special Education

Early childhood special education (ECSE) programs are special educational programs.

These programs help young children who have disabilities or developmental delays.

These programs are designed for children who are typically between the ages of birth and five years old.

ECSE programs provide different types of support, such as helping children learn social skills and creating individualized education plans just for them.

Along with that, they provide occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language therapy, and assessments to understand their needs better.

The main goal of ECSE is to help families and support the development of young children.

This support helps them with special needs to do well in school and in social situations.

Public schools generally provide ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education) services, although private companies or neighborhood-based organizations may also offer similar activities.

Special education is necessary for several reasons:

  • Assurance of accessibility to quality education for every child, special or not.

  • Providing specialized instructions according to the child’s needs.

  • Including students with disabilities in a supportive and inclusive environment where they can learn and socialize with their peers helps to reduce stigma and promote acceptance of differences.

  • Teaching students life skills like communication, socializing, and self-advocacy.

  • Protects the rights of students with disabilities and makes sure to give access to the same educational opportunities as their peers.

Various types of schools provide special education to children.

The parents have to choose what type of school will be suitable for their child according to their needs and conditions.

Activities for children with Special Needs

Special education services are provided in different settings to meet the diverse needs of students.

This includes public and private schools that receive funding from governments or non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

It also includes home-based and residential schools that offer online learning, tele-therapy, and in-person services for students who need more intensive care and supervision.

These schools develop customized activities that are tailored to the unique needs of each child.

For example, they may offer sensory play to address sensory processing issues.

It could also include music therapy to improve communication and socialization skills, art therapy to encourage self-expression, and physical and life-skill activities to promote independence. 

The goal of these services is to provide comprehensive support that helps students with special needs thrive and reach their full potential.

Determining the “best” special education system is complex due to the unique features and priorities of each country.

Finland, Canada, Denmark, Japan, and the United States are known for having strong special education systems and laws.  Policies, procedures, and resources for special education differ worldwide.

Final Thoughts

Although many countries have improved access to education for children with special needs, there is still a need for more efforts to promote inclusive education.

Customizing activities to meet the unique needs of each child, such as modifying activities or providing additional support, is essential.

Despite challenges, there are successful programs and efforts that are positively impacting the lives of children with special needs. 

Read more blogs on the EDU Passport website to learn about how special education needs can be fulfilled!

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