OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

A Comprehensive Definition of Special Education

The term "special education" covers a wide variety of non-traditional assistance.

Photo of Karla Davisio
0 0

Written by

According to the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics over 13 percent of the nation's youth are enrolled in some sort of special education. Despite this high percentage, many Americans are still confused as to what exactly the term "special education" means. To settle on a comprehensive definition of the subject, you must first be aware of the entire spectrum of definitions this umbrella term holds.

What is special education?

In a broad sense, special education exists to cater to the needs of students whose education is not fully realized within the traditional classroom setting. The spectrum of students aided by special education is extremely wide. A child may be enrolled in extra classes because he simply has trouble focusing when surrounded by many students. However other students may require further services due to a lack of ability to function with the physical or mental capacity required for their age.

What does special education entail?

Depending on a particular student, special education classes may require a small amount of school time or the entire day. Students with disabilities which render them unable to participate in traditional classrooms may be enrolled in a class specifically catered to those with mental or physical disabilities. On the other end of the spectrum, a student who requires extra reading help may be pulled from the regular classroom a few times a week to work with a one-on-one tutor or small group.

Who benefits from special education?

Based on the aforementioned 13 percent, apparently many students benefit from special education. Certain classrooms within a school provide education for students with more advanced needs. This includes students with mental disabilities such as autism or Down syndrome. Students with physical disabilities such as those who are wheelchair-bound are assessed by their mental capacity before being placed. Furthermore students with lighter disabilities are assessed by a professional writing service who decides which forms of extra help best assist the student. Special needs such as these include ADD, ADHD, speech impairments, anxiety, hearing impairments, OCD, sensory disorders, Tourette's and many more. In any case, a student who is thought to benefit through special education is assigned an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

What is the importance of special education?

Special education acknowledges that every child learns differently and therefore may need extra help to reach his potential. With such a large amount of individual learners, special education is absolutely essential in ensuring that every child gets the education he deserves.

The term "special education" covers a wide variety of non-traditional assistance. Once a student has been assessed and assigned an IEP, the field of special education becomes a safe haven for learning and acceptance. Aiding in the success of over 13 percent of America's students, special education is an absolute necessity for every school.

Find this story inspiring? Add your own!


Join the conversation: