Can you imagine if you walked into a shoe store and all of the shoes came in just one size? It would be quite disturbing. Some of us may simply resign ourselves to walking around with bare feet and others might opt for tripping over themselves because their shoes are too large, and yet still others might be in frequent pain because they would have chosen to wear shoes that are way too small. For years, many students and their families have been heard saying: “I am special ed.!” What does that mean? Is it some kind of closed group? Does one size fit all learners?
Special education is a school system’s way to ensure that all of our children are receiving instructional supports that are tailored to meet their individual needs. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law enacted in 1990 and reauthorized in 1997 and 2004. It is designed to protect the rights of students with disabilities by ensuring that everyone receives a free appropriate public education (FAPE), specifically tailored to that individuals abilities.
Children between the ages of 3 and 21, who meet the eligibility criteria in one of thirteen qualifying disabilities and who require special education services because of the disability can qualify for services under IDEA. Special education is definitely NOT one size fits all. The categories of disabilities are as follows: autism, deaf/blind, deafness, hearing impaired, cognitive disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, emotional disability, specific learning disabilities, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, blind and low vision and other health impairment.
To be eligible, for special education support services a student must have a disability that adversely affects her or his educational performance; and has been determined through psycho-educational evaluation to need special support services in order to receive an appropriate education. Educators are available to answer your questions about special education. Talk with school officials today about your concerns regarding your child’s education. Each child is unique, and so when it comes to developing individualized education plans, they are carefully tailored to meet each child’s learning needs. Special education means “one size does not fit all”.
“One size DOES NOT fit all”.