Special education is education that addresses the individual differences and requirements of a student with special needs.
Since the 1970s, support for people with disabilities and special educational needs has grown significantly.
Changes in educational laws have affected the work of teachers by creating three new expectations in relation to special education. These expectations are:
1. To provide alternative methods of assessment for students with disabilities.
2. To arrange a learning environment that is as normal or as ‘least restrictive’ as possible.
3. To participate in creating individual educational plans for students with disabilities.
In the context of students with disabilities, assessment refers to gathering information about a student in order to identify the strengths of the student and to decide what special educational support, if any, the student needs.
An individual education plan (IEP) should be created by a team of individuals who know the student’s strengths and needs. It describes a student’s current social and academic strengths as well as the student’s social or academic needs.
Including students with disabilities in regular classrooms is valuable for everyone concerned.
The disabilities encountered by teachers most frequently are:
• Learning Disabilities
• Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
• Intellectual Disabilities
• Behavioural Disorders
• Physical Disabilities and Sensory Impairments