Special Education

Special Education is specially designed instruction, support and services provided to students with an identified disability requiring an individually designed instructional program to meet their unique learning needs. Special education and related services are available to eligible students of ages 2 through 25 at Vikas learning centre to students with ASD and paediatric neuro cases.

The IEP provides a description and action plan of what the child with disability requires in terms of services and supports necessary to learn. It is a prerequisite to receiving special education services.

Special educator just as the general education teacher offers knowledge and expertise relative to the general education curriculum. The special education teacher has more in depth background on how to teach learners with special needs. They use that knowledge and experience to offer ideas for modifying the curriculum, individualizing instruction, suggesting behavior management techniques, and presenting progress data. In many cases, the special education teacher is also the child case manager, he or she is responsible for organizing meetings and tracking goal progress throughout the school year.

What is special education?

What do you imagine when you think about special education? You might picture children with disabilities spending the day tucked away in a different kind of classroom, separated from most of the kids their age. This may have been the norm in the past. But as the field of special education has moved forward, much has changed.
Special education today is still focused on helping children with disabilities learn. But this no longer has to mean placing kids in a special classroom all day long. In fact, federal law requires that students who receive special education services be taught alongside their non-disabled peers as much as possible.

For example, some students with dyslexia may spend most of the day in a general education classroom. They may spend just an hour or two in a resource room working with a specialist on reading and other skills. Other students with dyslexia might need more support than that. And others might need to attend a different school that specializes in teaching kids with learning disabilities.

“Special education refers to a range of services that can be provided in different ways and in different settings.”

There is no “one size fits all” approach to special education. It’s tailored to meet each student’s needs. Special education refers to a range of services that can be provided in different ways and in different settings.

If your child qualifies for special education, he’ll receive individualized teaching and other key resources at no cost to you. The child will focus on his strengths as well as his challenges. And you’ll be an important member of the team that decides what he needs to make progress in school.

What disabilities are covered by special education?

IDEA covers 13 types of disabilities. These categories include autism, hearing impairment and intellectual disability (which used to be referred to as “mental retardation”). Another category, called “specific learning disability,” applies to many kids who have learning and attention issues.

A specific learning disability most often affects skills in reading, writing, listening, speaking, reasoning and doing math. Common learning issues in this category include:

  • Dyslexia: Difficulty with reading, writing, spelling, speaking
  • Dyscalculia: Difficulty doing math problems, understanding time and money, remembering math facts
  • Dysgraphia: Difficulty with handwriting, spelling, organizing ideas
  • Dyspraxia: Difficulty with hand-eye coordination, balance, fine motor skills
  • Auditory processing disorder: Difficulty interpreting what the ear hears (which is different from having a hearing impairment)
  • Visual processing issues: Difficulty interpreting what the eye sees (which is different from having a visual impairment)

There’s a separate category called “other health impairment.” It’s defined as having limited strength or alertness, which affects educational performance. Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often covered by this category.

IEP must describe, discuss, and ultimately make recommendations with respect to;
Current performance, which is frequently called “present level of performance”
    • Annual goal and objectives
    • Assessment
    • Services
    • Transition
    • The behaviour intervention plan and functional behaviour Assessment, as needed
    • Placement

The IEP is written collaboratively with the faculty and parents of Vikas learning centre. The plan is executed and continuous assessments are done and modifications to the plan as deemed necessary are done to meet the needs of the child.

What is an Individualized Education Program (IEP)?

The IEP is often described as the cornerstone of special education. That’s because this legally binding document details a student’s annual learning goals as well as the special services and supports the school will provide to help him meet those goals.

Before your child can receive special education services, you and the school must complete several steps. Here’s how the process generally works:

  1. Referral for evaluation: When your child is struggling and a learning or attention issue is suspected, you or the school can ask for an evaluation. Your request may be accepted or denied. Either way, the school must explain its decision to you. The school can’t evaluate your child unless you give written permission.
  2. Evaluation: If the school agrees to evaluate your child, the school psychologist and other specialists will give your child various tests. They also may observe him in the classroom. The evaluation will identify whether your child has one of the 13 disabilities covered by the IDEA. The evaluation will also provide information about his educational needs.
    Medical conditions such as ADHD are diagnosed by a physician or another medical professional. However, federal law doesn’t necessarily require a medical evaluation to identify a child as having ADHD.Some school districts have policies that allow school psychologists to diagnose ADHD as part of the special education evaluation. School psychologists need to have appropriate training to do this
  3. Determination of eligibility: After the evaluation, a special team from the school meets with you to discuss whether your child has a disability and if it affects his ability to learn. (If your child doesn’t meet the requirements for an IEP, he may qualify for a 504 plan, which can provide many of the same accommodations and services.)
  4. Developing the IEP: If your child is eligible for special education, his IEP team creates a plan to meet his needs. You are an equal member of this team and play a very important role. You know and understand your child better than anyone else on the team. Your insights can help ensure that your child receives the services and supports he needs to succeed in school.
    There’s a common saying in public schools: “Special education is not a place. It’s a service.” Take advantage of the resources that are available to your child. And remember that many of these resources are available to your child in a general education classroom.
    If you’re debating whether to have your child evaluated for special education, thinking through some key questions could help you make up your mind. If you decide to go for it, Understood can help you prepare for the evaluation and develop the IEP. And if you choose not to get an evaluation, or if your child is denied special education services, this site has other suggestions for how you can help your child.

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

An Individualized Education Program (commonly referred to as IEP) is a document, mandated by the IDEA, which clearly defines the individual goal and objectives set for a child with a disability. These programs are written documentation of the special education program and academic modifications required to meet the child’s individual needs. The two main purposes of a student’s

IEP are to:

  1. Set reasonable learning goals for the student, and
  2. State the required services that the school district needs to provide for said child.

IEPs are developed by a team including the child’s teacher(s), parents, and supporting school staff. This team meets annually (at minimum) to assess the academic and developmental progress of the student, design appropriate educational plans, and adhere any changes if necessary. The main goal these reviews are to ensure that the child is receiving appropriate and adequate services within their least restrictive environment.

While each child’s IEP is unique, IDEA mandates that all IEPs must contain the following specific information:

  • Student’s present level of academic achievement and overall performance.
  • Annual goals and/or objectives for the child (milestones that both parents and school staff feels is reasonably achievable within the next year.).
  • Special education and related services, including supplementary services such as adaptive communication devices, adequate transportation services, and appropriate school personnel
  • Portion of the day that the child will be educated apart from his or her typically-developing peers
  • Participation and/or modification to district-, state-, and nation-wide assessments
  • How child’s progress will be measured
Types of Disabilities Covered in IDEA

The umbrella term of special education broadly identifies the academic, physical, cognitive, and social-emotional instruction offered to children who are faced with one or more disabilities. Under the IDEA, these disabilities are categorized into the following areas:

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism Spectrum Disorder refers to a developmental disability that significantly affects communication (both verbal and nonverbal) and social interaction. These symptoms are typically evident before the age of three and adversely affect a child’s educational performance. Other identifying characteristics of those with ASD are engagement in repetitive activities/stereotyped movements, resistance to change in environment and daily routine and unusual responses to sensory stimuli.


Deaf-blindness refers to concomitant visual and hearing impairments. This combination causes severe communication, developmental and educational needs that cannot be accommodated through special education programs solely for those children with blindness or deafness.

Deafness/Hearing Impairment

Deafness means a child’s hearing impairment is so severe that it impacts the processing of linguistic information with or without amplification and adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Hearing impairment refers to an impairment (fluctuating or permanent) that adversely affects a child’s educational performance

Developmental Delay

Developmental delay is a term designated for children birth to age nine, and is defined as a delay in one or more of the following areas: cognitive development, physical development, socio-emotional development, behavioral development or communication.

Emotional Disturbance

Emotional disturbance refers to a condition that exhibits one or more of the following characteristics both over an extended period of time and to an exceptional degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:

  • An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors
  • An inability to build and/or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
  • Inappropriate types of behaviour or feelings under normal circumstances
  • A general pervasive mood of unhappiness/depression
  • A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems

Emotional disturbance does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted unless they are determined to have an emotional disturbance as per IDEA’s regulations.

Intellectual Disability

Intellectual disability is defined as a significantly below average functioning of overall intelligence that exists alongside deficits in adaptive behavior and is manifested during the child’s developmental period causing adverse affects on the child’s educational performance.

Multiple Disabilities

Children with multiple disabilities are those with concomitant impairments such as intellectual disability and blindness or intellectual disability and orthopedic impairment(s). This combination causes severe educational needs that cannot be met through programs designed for children with a single impairment. (Deaf-blindness is not identified as a multiple disability and is outlined separately by IDEA.)

Orthopedic Impairment

Orthopedic impairment(s) refer to severe orthopedic impairments that adversely affect a child’s academic performance. Orthopedic impairment(s) include those caused by congenital anomalies and diseases, as well impairments by other causes (i.e. Cerebral Palsy).

Other Health Impairment(s)

Other health impairments refer to a limitation in strength, vitality or alertness, resulting in limited alertness to one’s educational environment. These impairments are often due to chronic or acute health problems — including ADD/ADHD, epilepsy, and Tourette’s syndrome — and adversely affect the child’s educational performance.

Specific Learning Disability

Specific learning disability refers to a range of disorders in which one or more basic psychological processes involved in the comprehensive/usage of language — both spoken and written — establish impairment in one’s ability to listen, think, read, write, spell and/or complete mathematical calculations. Included are conditions such as perceptual disabilities, dyslexia (also dyscalculia, dysgraphia), brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction and developmental aphasia. Specific learning disabilities do not include learning problems that are the result of visual, auditory or motor disabilities, intellectual disability, emotional disturbance or those who are placed at an environmental/economic disadvantage.

Speech/Language Impairment

Speech or language impairments refer to communications disorders such as stuttering, impaired articulation or language/voice impairments that have an adverse effect on a child’s educational performance.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Traumatic brain injury refers to an acquired injury to the brain caused by external physical forces. This injury is one that results in a partial or complete functional disability and/or psychosocial impairment and must adversely affect the child’s educational performance. TBI does not include congenital or degenerative conditions or those caused by birth-related trauma. TBI applies to injuries that result in impairments in one or more of the following areas: cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem-solving, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing, and speech.

Visual Impairment (Including Blindness)

Visual impairment, which includes blindness, refers to impairment in one’s vision that, even after correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term “visual impairment” is inclusive of those with partial sight and blindness.

In order to be deemed eligible for state special education services, IDEA states that a student’s disability must adversely affect his or her academic achievement and/or overall educational performance. While defining these adverse effects are dependent on a student’s categorical disability, eligibility is determined through a process of evaluations by professionals such as a child’s pediatrician/specialists, school psychologists and social workers. After a student is deemed able to receive such services, their progress is annually reviewed.