Research shows that over the past 10 years, the number of U.S. students enrolled in special education programs has risen 30 percent and that nearly every classroom across the country includes students with disabilities.
Special education and the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act often have difficulty existing harmoniously. NCLB ultimately holds school districts accountable for the success of each enrolled student and requires that 95 percent of the student body take and pass select standardized tests – not excluding students with disabilities. The result is that administrators and “highly qualified” (but not necessarily trained Special Ed) teachers must first find a way to provide the best possible methods of instruction for students with disabilities and, secondly, that students successfully meet these standards or the district is held accountable.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is one guide for educators. While IDEA does not require inclusion, studies have shown that mainstream or “less restrictive” environments provide the highest success rates and are most effective in boosting confidence and promoting healthy social skills. But inclusion isn't right for all disabled students. To make the right decision for your students and school, you need to have all the facts and be prepared to deal with each case individually.
To help you navigate legal requirements and implement proven practices for serving special needs students, review this collection of resources and share the knowledge with your faculty and parents. These tips, suggestions, and easy-to-adopt strategies will help you work with stakeholders to ensure that every student realizes his or her full potential.
The New Realities of Special Needs Students
Special education is everyone's challenge. Here's what you need to know.
Challenges of Inclusion
The rights of students with disabilities must be honored, but that can be a tough balancing act when behavior affects the school.
An advocate of Reading Recovery talks about the highly structured program – and the hope it brings to struggling students.
The Ups and Downs of an Inclusive Classroom
Inclusion is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but is it right for your school?
When Assisted Technology Really Works
An Iowa school district took a chance on assisted technology — and it paid off.
See For Yourself
In this workshop, wind up frustrated, angry, and in tears — and finally understand what having a learning disability means.
Know What You Should
Explore each stage of development to better understand the learning disabled.
Every Kid Can!
Do your best to meet diverse learning needs in your school.
The Trouble With Traditional Diagnostic Labels
Beware the language that is used to label learning disabilities and special needs students.
Working With Children Who Have Motor Difficulties
Practice and appropriate games can help children gain motor control.
Respect for Parents of Special Needs Students
Positive communication with parents and caregivers helps you understand and handle a child's special needs.
The Right School for Your Special Needs Child
A guide for parents to help them work with educators and schools.