Special Education and the Importance of Collaboration

Collaboration means working with an individual or a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. Its importance is most visible in education. Every day, teachers work together with their peers, school counselors, and other staff for the success of each student. And when it comes to special education, collaboration becomes the single most important thing for a teacher.

A teacher for special education has to collaborate with school administrators, general education teachers, school therapists, psychologists, and parents and guardians. Students with mild disability have now been included in regular classroom teaching, according to the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education (IDEA) Act. This has led to general and special education teachers working together, often with the help of the best fun educational apps. The role of the educator in a general classroom, involves teaching the curriculum and assessing and evaluating special children. It’s important that a the educator brings in a set of personal skills to enhance student learning. Skills of both the general teacher and the special educator should come together to help a student.

A special educator has to work closely with the school management. It’s a vital part of the job. Working with the management will help the special teacher follow the necessary laws and procedure, work with individualized education plan (IEP), and make sure that special children are accommodated in the appropriate classroom. It’s always important to forge a strong relationship with these people for ensuring the success of a special student.

Working with parents is a major challenge for all special education teachers. It’s important to make strong and regular contact. It’s a nice idea to allow parents come and volunteer in the classroom, so that both the educator and the parent can help the children. A special child can obviously relate more to a parent. If parents explain the use of the best fun educational apps for kids, it’s likely to be more believable to the children.

Working with school therapists and psychologists is another key collaboration of a special educator. A therapist can inform the educator about the limitations of a special child. He/she may even recommend the best fun educational apps for kids so that special children pick up social skills faster. The educator, on his/her part, can update the therapist on how a child is progressing. The therapist is also responsible for diagnosis of a special child.

The work of the school psychologist is also largely similar. They too test children for disabilities and ensure that the IEP is being properly followed.

Collaboration is an important part of a special educator’s job, regardless of which part of school education he/she is involved with. Whether it’s working with the school administration, other teachers, parents, guardians, counselors, or therapists, a special educator has to work as part of a team for the betterment of special children. The needs of a special child are much different from that of a neuro-typical. Besides, each child is different. The best fun educational apps can keep the child engaged besides imparting important social skills.

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Parents, Teachers, and Special Education

At a time when budget cuts are commonplace, staff shortage, larger class size, and understanding the laws governing special education in the US, is imperative to build an inclusive learning environment for all students, from those with learning and physical disabilities, to the exceptionally gifted ones, as well as all children in between.

The National Center for Education Statistics’ numbers reveal that about 70 percent of students go to elementary and middle school. The number of children with special education needs is also on the rise.

With the focus on inclusive classrooms, both parents and teachers have to understand the legal requirements, as well as the costs involved towards special education in public schools.

What is special education?

Special education involves academic programs to help individuals who are mentally, emotionally, or physically impaired. The program may include children with severe disabilities, and those with moderate or mild language difficulties, emotional or cognitive disabilities, or other impairment that hinder learning. In some schools, educators use top educational apps for kindergartners to impart education to kids.

What is least-restrictive learning environment?

Least-restrictive environment means schools receiving public funding, must give students an opportunity to attend regular classrooms as much as possible. Schools must allow special students to participate in standard learning environment along with the neuro-typical students.

In some cases, special children with severe impairment may have to spend time in a special classroom designed to accommodate their particular disability, with the help of some top educational apps for kindergartners. But most of their time, as much as 80 percent, is usually spent in a regular classroom environment alongside the neuro-typical students.

Special education inclusion

Giving all students the opportunity to attend regular classrooms, instructions and learning, is what is known as inclusion. The term “inclusive classrooms” is rather new. It complies with the Rehabilitation Act (1973) and also the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1975). The latter act was amended in 2012, to measure the success of special education programs.

Identification of special education students

Studies have revealed that after the age of seven, it’s usually difficult to bring up special children to a grade-level performance. Kids with mild to extreme mental and physical disabilities have wide-ranging special needs. It requires educators to focus on setting up a consistent classroom environment along with paced instructions, behavior management, and individualized lesson plans. Top educational apps for kindergartners can be much helpful in this regard. Research has suggested that the sooner special needs children are exposed to these apps, the faster they can adapt to regular classrooms.

Special needs children who receive no early intervention, often drop out of school at a much higher rate, which can be twice that of neuro-typical students. It ultimately costs the society far more than properly educating them.

The role doctors play

The family physician can play a major role to help identify kids with cognitive and physical disabilities. But it’s majorly the responsibility of teachers and parents to determine whether the child is suffering from learning disabilities and needs special education.

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Special Education in Ireland’s Secondary Schools

This article is an introduction to special education in Irish secondary schools. The past then years have witnessed a sea change in special education provision in Ireland. The Department of Education and Science has issued numerous directives and guidelines in relation to policy, provision, structure and supports. Since 1998 there have been ten pieces of legislation passed through the Dail that relate, one way or another to children and special education needs The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has been established along with the Special Education Support Service (SESS). Both these organisations oversee and coordinate all special education initiatives nationwide. Ireland’s primary schools have pioneered these new directives. Special education provision at primary level is developing at a rapid pace and great strides are being made. The next horizon for improvement is secondary school.

Ireland’s secondary schools are driven by an exam-oriented curriculum. Subject area specialists teach all of the curricular content. The supports available to children with special needs are not extensive or as tested as those at primary level. In what follows we will look at the needs and entitlements of children entering secondary school who have identified special education needs and those who are entering and later discovered to have a special education need.

My child has been receiving extra help in primary school. What should I look for in a secondary school?

You should look for a school with a special education teacher in place on a full-time basis to support all children with special needs in the school. It is important to also be sure the school has a commitment to supporting and educating children with special needs. The school should have on its staff teachers who have had some training in how to differentiate their methodology and curriculum for children with special needs. There should be an accepting attitude on the part of all staff. Remember, your child is entitled to enter fully into the life of the school and avail of all it has to offer. How do you find out these things? Talk to the school principal and ask questions about the topics listed above. Remember, your child may be eligible for special consideration at the time of Junior Cert and Leaving Cert but this will have to be determined about a year before these exams will be taken.

What is s/he entitled to?

A child who has been receiving special education resources or support in primary school is eligible for continued support at secondary level so long as they continue to have a special education need. It is possible that a primary school child, after receiving several years of support, could no longer be deemed to have a special education need but this is the exception not the rule.

Your child will be entitled to the same general provision he or she received in primary school. Typically this takes the form of specialist teaching from a Learning Support or Special Education Resource teacher (both are now often being referred to simply as Special Education teachers. This support is to be determined based on need with the number of hours of support being determined by the Individual Education Plan (IEP) drawn up in the last year of primary school. In addition to the IEP there should have been a Transition Plan completed during the last year of primary school The Transition Plan will devise the structure of transition to secondary school and may alter the IEP for a short period of time. If this happens there should be a team meeting in about six months or less to write the secondary school IEP. In general students in secondary school are eligible for the same supports as in primary school. This may include a Special Needs Assistant (SNA).

How do I go about making sure they get that?

Generally speaking your child’s Individual Education Plan is the map which documents exactly what services your child will receive, when he or she will receive them and from whom. The IEP is your best protection against a child not receiving the services they need. IEP’s will eventually become legally binding documents on all parties and a school must provide the services outlined in the IEP. An IEP cannot be changed or implemented without your consent. Remember that upon entering secondary school a Transition Plan may be in place that slightly alters the previous IEP. This will have to be reviewed within a short span of time to be sure the child receives appropriate support services. Don’t be afraid to talk to the school principal because he or she is ultimately responsible to see to it that children receive the services they are entitled to receive.

What are my options if we run into difficulties?

Should problems arise you should first speak to the Year Head and address your concerns. The Special Needs Organiser (SENO) assigned to the school should be alerted as well as the appropriate special education teacher(s). A team meeting, of which you are entitled to be a member, can be convened within a reasonable time frame and your concerns will be discussed. If this meeting does not satisfy you or not result in the child receiving the services you may contact the National Council for Special Education for further information and support.

It is important to take things one step at a time. Speak to your child’s special education teacher first and be clear about your concerns. Be assertive and not aggressive. Remember, generally speaking everyone is doing the best they can. Do have your child’s IEP in front of you when you are speaking to the teacher or other staff member. Be aware of your rights to appeal as outlined in the NCSE and SESS websites. Don’t rush to judgement, try and work things out amicably before you make threats to appeal. The next most important port of call will be the Special Needs Organiser assigned to the school.

Hidden Disabilities

Not all children who have special education needs come to the attention of parents or educators in primary school. The human brain is an organ that tries to meet the demands placed upon it at any given time. As anyone who has gone to school knows, the demands of the curriculum get greater and greater each year of schooling. In secondary school the curriculum subjects become incredibly complex each year. The fact that a student is being educated by many different teachers each year further complicates matters. There are students who have had no difficulty suggestive of a special education need at primary school who suddenly seem to have a lot of difficulties in secondary school. Unfortunately they are often perceived as “lazy” or “unmotivated” and sometimes as “difficult” students.

If these labels stick and no thought or concern raised about a possible learning difficulty being present the student can become trapped in a cycle of failure and rejection by teachers. The result could be early school leaving, behaviour difficulties to hide the learning problem, lowered self-esteem, loss of self-confidence and trouble at home. It is important to recognise that some students, no matter how well they performed in primary school, may have a special education need that doesn’t appear until secondary school.

What are the warning signs?

It is not possible to list the many warning signs of a hidden disability but generally speaking one should be considered any time a student with a previously successfully record in primary school begins to exhibit difficulties in secondary school. There are a variety of causes to school failure at second level but a hidden disability can often be reasonably suspected when one or more of the following difficulties become noticeable:

oMemory problems
oOrganisational difficulties
oRefusal to go to school
oProblems with written language expression
oDifficulty organising thoughts into speech
oInability to recall facts from yesterday’s lesson even if they seemed retained the night before
oUnusual spelling problems
oUnusual difficulty with more advanced mathematical problems
oPronounced difficulty in foreign language class
oBehavioural difficulties not present in primary school
oMood swings or sudden mood changes that last several hours
oReluctance to engage with parents about school difficulties

Although a partial list it is a good guide for parents and teachers to thoughtfully consider the presence of a hidden learning disability.

I think my child may have a problem. Where do I go from here?

First speak with your child’s teachers. Ask for the facts: what does teacher think the problem might be? How often is this occurring? When? Is it serious? Present your own perception to the teacher(s) clearly and succinctly. If you have done some Internet homework on your own be clear about it and raise it as a query needing to be resolved. Try and get some samples from homework you have seen and ask for some samples of the child’s work in class if it is appropriate to do so. Speak to the Year Head and ask him or her to get some information about your concerns from all teachers. See if you can spot a pattern that validates your concern.

If you become more concerned then you have a right to ask for an assessment. Sometimes the special education teacher, with your permission, can perform some individually administered tests to discover if the child is seriously behind in reading or math achievement age. It is possible to discover if there are significant written language deficits in some cases. If this assessment leads to more significant concerns then you should request a psychological assessment. These can be provided free by the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) but be mindful that a lengthy waiting list may be in place.

The most important thing is to be persistent and to talk to the right people. Begin with teachers, speak to Year Head, go to Principal if necessary and don’t forget the Special Education Needs Organiser (SENO). If an assessment is carried out there will be a team meeting to discuss the results and to begin the process of writing an IEP.

In the case of a diagnosis, where do we go from here?

If your child is found to have a special education need an IEP should be written. This is, as stated previously, a road map to your child’s education plan. It should be reviewed annually but can be reviewed more frequently if it is decided to do so. The special education team, often referred to as a multidisciplinary team, will be responsible for writing the IEP. You are a member of that team. Your child is also entitled to be a member of the team and it is particularly important for secondary school students to participate in this stage of planning. This gives them a sense of ownership and control over their educational life.

Be sure that the plan covers all the areas of concern that have been discovered in the assessment process. Plans for children with social and behavioural difficulties that address only academic issues are useless and doomed to fail. Special education planning is a thoughtful and time-consuming process when it is done correctly. Don’t feel rushed into accepting a plan you don’t think will work. Take it away and ask if you can return in a week to revise it with the team. This may not make you the most popular parent in the school but it is responsible parenting.

Possible Panels:

Autism/Asperger’s in Secondary School

There are large numbers of children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder that are having considerable difficulty finding a secondary school to enrol them. The problem revolves around the lack of supports at second level and the lack of teacher training in this speciality area. Unfortunately there is little that can be done if a school refuses to enrol a child on the autistic spectrum. What is needed is the development of resource support. By that I mean resource rooms where these children can get services by a specialist teacher. Availability to the teachers of advanced training. Availability of print and video resources teachers can access to learn more about the spectrum. Along with this there should be a whole-school commitment to inclusion for children on the spectrum so they are not isolated from same-age peers.

The education of children on the spectrum is not that difficult once educators get the knowledge about how to do it and have the proper attitude towards these children and their families. Of course they present us with challenges but the good news is that once we get it reasonably right for them we begin to improve the education of all children. There are considerable challenges in the future to our secondary schools in education these children and it is time to get it right. Those schools which stubbornly refuse to enrol children on the spectrum are in the stone age of education. There is a clear choice for secondary schools in relation to these children: be in the forefront of change and development or be left behind forever. Parents will not forgive or forget. It’s time to get it right once and for all.

ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder affects about 5% of all children and adults. Unlike other special education conditions, children and adolescents with ADHD are frequently blamed for having the condition, perceived as hostile or unmotivated, lazy or cheeky. When ADHD goes untreated it becomes a serious condition affecting self-esteem, motivation, behaviour, self-confidence and relationships with adults and peers. ADHD is a high-stakes condition and it needs to be recognised that students who have it didn’t choose to be the way they are.

ADHD is a condition that is caused by brain chemistry and activity. It is a neurobiological condition. People with ADHD often have difficulty paying attention and concentrating, especially on things that require sustained attention and concentration. The can have problems controlling their emotions and impulses, can rush to finish things or have considerable difficulty waiting their turn. They often ask questions without thinking them through and sometimes make unfortunate comments in front of others.

ADHD is a life-long condition. One never grows out of it but the symptom picture changes over time. Often the impulsivity and high level of activity, if they were initially present, disappear in the teen years. The learning problems associated with ADHD do not go away easily and it is vitally important for them to be addressed in school. As in the case of children on the autistic spectrum, once educators and schools get it correct for children with ADHD they have improved the educational provision of all children.

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An Inside Look at the Special Education Profession

Special education professionals work to promote students’ overall behavioral, social and academic growth. Special education professionals aide students in developing socially appropriate behavior within their family, school and community. Teachers of special education help students become more confident in their social interactions. Special education professionals administer activities that build students’ life skills.

What Does the Job Entail?

Are you interested in helping others? Can you handle and care for people who learn differently and have other behavioral problems? Do you want to make a difference in a young child’s life? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you might consider a career in special education. Below is a breakdown of the short and long-term responsibilities of a special education teacher.

First and foremost, special education teachers focus on the development and academic needs of children with disabilities. They encourage learning in disabled students by implementing educational modules and behavioral techniques. Special education teachers work alone or with general education teachers to individualize lessons, develop problem-solving techniques and integrate children into group projects with other students. Furthermore, special education teachers are responsible for ensuring that the needs of disabled children are met during assessment periods.

Did you know that special education teachers work with a team of professionals, qualified staff and family in order to fulfill their job requirements? It is true. In fact, special education teachers work in conjunction with these entities to create an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each student. An IEP is designed in collaboration with a child’s parents, school principal, social worker, speech pathologist and general education teacher to ensure effective implementation. An IEP targets a student’s needs and growth areas for maximum response. The specialized goals set by the IEP are woven throughout all aspects of a child’s daily activities. Teachers of special education must monitor a child’s setbacks and progress and report back to parents and administrators. Planned goals and tasks are outlined for family members to refer to while a student is at home as well.

The types of disabilities a special education teacher might encounter are difficult to predict. For one, the qualifications for special education services vary greatly from mild disabilities to extreme cases of mental retardation or autism. Types of disabilities include, but are not limited to, the following: speech impairments, hearing disabilities, emotional disturbances, orthopedic impairments, brain trauma cases, blindness, deafness and learning disabilities.

Do You Exhibit These Qualities?

Now that you have an idea of the job’s demands, let’s see if you have the right qualities to be a special education teacher.

Recognize the symptoms and needs of special needs students

Patience

Ability to work with one or more parties to achieve short-term and long-term goals

Strong communication skills

Ability to motivate others

Ability to multi-task

Knowledge of the most recent education modules, medical research and behavioral practices

Creativity
Knowledge of the latest medical technology relevant to special education

Taking the Next Step toward a New Career

Once you have decided to enter the field of special education, you will need to follow several steps. Due to the specialization of the field, special education teachers in all 50 states must receive licensure before employment. Licensures are approved by each state’s board of education, and the requirements for certification differ between states. Nevertheless, the growing shortage of special education teachers has led institutions of higher education to offer more special education degree and certification programs. In fact, special education degrees are offered at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels throughout the nation. Not to mention, the booming field of distance learning has made certification more accessible from any location in the United States.

In many cases, hopeful special education professionals do not meet the requirements of special education licensure due to their prior completion of degree programs outside of the field of education. Therefore, several states have begun to offer alternate forms of certification. The hope of these programs is to attract new special education professionals and fill the growing need for teachers. The chance to positively impact the lives of special needs children is one of the driving motivations and benefits of entering this field.

After several years, some special education teachers look for new opportunities within their field. In the most common situations, special education professionals transfer to administrative or supervisory positions. Others, after receiving a higher degree, become college professors and educate new students in the field of special education. Experienced teachers of special needs students have also moved up to serve as mentors to incoming special education teachers.

As for the future of special education and employment, there are many changes on the horizon. Most significantly, the job market in special education, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is projected to “increase faster than the average of all occupations by 2014.” Due to the new emphasis on education and training in legislature, special education professionals will become even more valued.

Can I Make a Living as a Special Education Teacher?

As mentioned previously, the special education job market is on the rise. In 2004, the BLS reported 441,000 employed special education teachers in the nation. While only 6 percent worked within private schools, over 90 percent were employed by public schools or districts. In rare cases, special education professionals were involved in home or hospital care.

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What You Should Know About Teaching Special Education

Special Education for me is a challenging vocation for it caters to individuals with disabilities. Through this type of education, students with disabilities are educated effectively.

I read a line from an article years ago that states: “It is said that a society can be judged by the way it treats those who are different.”

In a democratic society it is believed that every individual is valuable in his own right and should be afforded equal opportunities to develop his potentials. The provision of special education will empower families to build future for their children, normal and special alike.

It was said that “teaching” is what special education is most about.

The role of the Special Education (SPED) teacher is very crucial. The SPED teacher has the responsibility not only to teach the regular classroom stuff like reading, writing, math etc, but also Activities of Daily Living and peer socialization.

An important part of a special education teacher’s job is the early identification of a child with special needs, intervention is vital in educating children with special needs because as time goes on children who are not coping or who struggle in the general curriculum can be negatively affected.

A SPED educator’s job is also challenging. Special education teachers work with children and youths who have a variety of disabilities. I also find this vocation fulfilling, for, it provides the opportunity to establish meaningful relationships with special kids.

Although helping these students can be highly rewarding, the work also can be emotionally and physically draining. SPED teachers work under the threat of litigation against the school or district by parents if correct procedures are not followed or if they feel that their child is not receiving an adequate education.

A SPED educator should be well-guarded by the laws. Understanding and practicing the laws will ensure a safe and legal environment for both the special child and SPED teacher.

A special educator’s battlecry should be “commitment”. Commitment spells equitable and excellent classroom. Without commitment to the chosen vocation, one won’t be able to do his/ her job well.

But, teachers cannot do it alone. Teaching is a collaborative effort between the educator, student, parents/ family and the community. SPED educators, should express desire to be the parents’ partner in the development of the special child.

As teachers, trying to reach out beyond the school to promote trust and understanding, and build partnerships with all segments of the school community is significant. Being active in associations/ causes supporting the special child/ special education can be a good start.

I would like to quote Robert Pasternack, Ph.D., Assistant Secretary Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services,U.S. Department of Education. He said:

“Some of the kids that are in special education are not, in fact, kids with disabilities. They are, in fact, instructional casualties. They are, in fact, kids who haven’t been taught successfully using scientifically validated instructional approaches and research validated curricula in the general education system and general education settings.”

With that, I have the following implications to education of children with special needs:

States will put a premium on Reading — to deliver scientifically validated and scientifically based reading research, validated curricula and instructional strategies in classrooms.
Continuous and more additional trainings for teachers. If professional development will be given to teachers, if it’s sustained, if it’s systematic, if it’s embedded in what teachers do, then, in fact, we can go ahead and improve the capacity of teachers to address the learning needs of the heterogeneous groups of kids that they have in front of them on a daily basis.

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Essay on How to Help Poor and Needy People

Leaving a life that is meaningful is something that everyone needs. However, it is not something going into a spiritual quest. All the spiritual quests are going away from life. Unfortunately, you cannot find the meaning of life by going away from life.

In fact, it can be found only in finding the meaning here in life, not going to some lonely place to meditate. You can find the real essence of life only when you help others because you are living with others and your relationship matters.

Why should you help others?

You are living in this world because there are other people. Can you imagine living on this huge earth alone? Undoubtedly, you will go crazy if you find yourself alone in this world.

Life takes place in relation to others. Whether it’s someone from India or someone from Russia, that does not really matter, it is the same human being. Your idea of separate human is just an idea; otherwise, you all are inter-related and inter-connected.

Hence, by helping the poor, you can make this world a better place to live. People would love to be around you and people will bless you. Blessing never comes from the gods, in fat. It can only come from living beings. Hence, you must help people if you want a blessed life.

How can you help poor people?

If you look at the world closely, then you will see that there is inequality. Governments and other organizations are trying to fix this gap but it will make sense only when you find a way to contribute to the world.

There are many people who even don’t not have food to eat. Now, that is something sad because it is a basic thing that every living being must-have. But humans have become the only creatures that are starving. No other animals and birds are starving.

You would also find kids without education. A world that is not educated would slowly drift away to a bad state. If you want the growth of the world, then you should and must educate poor kids who do not have money to have a good education.

There are people who are also struggling to have shelter and clothes; the world is an utterly depressing place to live now. You must find some way to give shelters to poor people. You might not be able to build a home but you can contribute to the community center to feed and give shelter to the people who live differently in the community.

How should you approach?

You can help people in many ways. For instance, you can take part in cultural exchange programs or you can simply join awareness campaigns to educate poor people
You can help someone having medical treatment and medicines thus giving someone life. There is nothing better than giving life to people
You can see help from NGOs and other organizations that are working towards the betterment of the poor community

In fact, there are a number of ways and means to help poor people. All you need to have is the compassionate heart and a loving mind.

It is time to understand the essence of life by finding the ways to help people because you can only find spiritual satisfaction by h going the people. Poor people might have been born poor but they have all the right to live a rich and beautiful life. You should be instrumental.

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