Special Education is a term that is often associated with thoughts of confusion and misunderstanding. As an education attorney, one of my primary objectives is to dispel some of the myths that are associated with special education. For example, some parents may view special education as a subpar education. However, special education when implemented correctly is instruction that is designed to meet the particular needs of a child with a disability.

How does Special Education meet the unique needs of students with disabilities?

            As a parent or student with a disability you may be wondering how special education can be tailored to meet a student’s needs? An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is one of the means used to address this issue. Through an IEP, the student's education is designed around his or her needs with the goal of allowing them access to the general curriculum, to the extent practicable. The student’s IEP may include:

-Supplemental Aids and Services, which are provided to assist the student in accessing the general curriculum. These aids and services may include, but are not limited to speech therapy, occupational therapy, specialized reading instruction, assistive technology, and a one-to-one aid.

-Same Curriculum with Accommodations where a student may be taught the same curriculum as his or her peers, but with adjustments made in how the student is taught. Common accommodations include, extended time on tests and assignments, preferred seating in the classroom, and oral tests.

-Modified Curriculum where changes are made to the curriculum standards for the student. For example, a general education student may be expected to know the names of all fifty states, but a student with a modified curriculum may only be required to identify less than all fifty states.  

Understanding the “Least Restrictive Environment”

         I often encounter parents that are apprehensive about special education due to the concern that their child will be in a “special ed classroom” where they are separated from friends and peers who do not have a disability. While it is true that some students are better served in a separate classroom the school is also required to offer special education in what is called the “least restrictive environment” or LRE. What this means is, to the extent possible, students with disabilities must be educated in the regular education environment (i.e. regular classes with students who are not disabled). Therefore, if removal from the regular classroom is necessary it must only be to the extent needed.

            If you have concerns about how and where educational services will be provided to your child, call S. Council Law Firm at (678) 629-2913 or email contact@scouncilfirm.com