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MAIN Arrow to Education Education Arrow to Special Education Special Education

Who needs special ed?

Problems with meeting academic standards are usually the first sign that a child is a candidate for special education.

Sooner or later, it is reported by the parent or teacher who may request an assessment to detect a specific disability.

The finding is usually based on an assessment that tests for general physical health (including vision and hearing), social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communication skills, and motor abilities.

Most often, a learning disability centers around vision or reading difficulties. These include dyslexia, eye tracking problems (with a distinct inability to focus on a line of text), or exophoria ("lazy eye"). Other typical concerns that are discovered as a result of a special ed assessment may include hearing difficulties and speech impairment. In more serious cases autism or mental retardation may be the cause.

Although ADHD is not considered a learning disability per se, children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are usually candidates for testing merely to help detect any possible underlying disability. Bilingual children may also require special education services.

In theory, gifted and talented students are not usually considered candidates for special education, but in practice there are specially designed gifted education programs that are available in many school districts. Students who are bored with the standard curriculum may receive extra challenges, up to and including special classes, added assignments, or accelerated grade advancement.

In the US, the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) requires the Department of Education to provide a free public education for students who are eligible for special education. Once a student is assigned to a program, an IEP (Individualized Education Program) is written up to address their special needs. The written document is then carefully monitored throughout the school year to ensure that the child's special needs are being met.

Learn more about meeting the needs of both special and gifted students, their teachers, and parents in this guide to special education resources on the Net:

More about special education around the Web:

 

Awesome Library - K-12 Special Education Lesson Plans - A truly awesome collection of special ed resources in more than a dozen categories including ADD, deaf and hearing impaired, blind and visually impaired, the physical challenged, and assistive technology resources.

KidSource.com - Special Needs - Check out he latest news articles serving the needs of gifted kids, their creativity, emotional support, career and college planning, social development and more.

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