“The purpose of special education is to provide equal access to education for children ages birth-21 by providing specialized services that will lead to school success in the general curriculum.”
One of the greatest myths that we believe about special education is that once a child enters the program, they will be labeled “special ed.” forever. Special education is not a label. It is a program that is designed to offer a child educational equity, and an individualized program with goals and objectives to meet them where they are.
Most parents shrink at the thought of their child being in special education. The stigma attached to the idea of special ed. can be daunting. And, it doesn’t make it any better when parents who’ve had a horrible experience start sharing, and the family begins gossiping and volunteering their opinions and feelings about what’s best for YOUR child. Because of this, parents refuse services, even after a child has been diagnosed with a learning disability, and students never get the chance to access the curriculum using specialized services.
The process can be overwhelming, the emotions can cause fear and anxiety to set in, and the outside noise can cause you to doubt if this is the road you want to take with your child. Let me assure you that deciding that your child will receive services in SPED is not a horrible thing. It’s your responsibility as a parent to advocate for your child to have access to the curriculum. If your child has a disability, you want to make sure that their education is tailor-made. Special education doesn’t mean that your child is tucked away in a classroom away from his/her peers. It doesn’t mean that they will receive services for the duration of their school career, and it sure doesn’t mean that something is wrong with your child. It just means that a plan was written with them in mind to succeed in the Least Restrictive Environment possible.
There are so many benefits for children in special ed., and students who qualify for special education in one of 13 categories as defined by IDEA will significantly benefit from the services.
At the end of the day, you want to make sure that your child has everything they need. Remember:
- Your child is unique, and the plan was written FOR your child.
- You have the ability to participate in creating a plan that fits your child’s needs.
- Your child will have access to ALL of the accommodations, modifications, and assistive technology they can benefit from.
- Your child does not have to receive services forever. If they show growth, they can test out.
- This is not a label or a life sentence. It is an individualized plan created to help them walk through life successfully on their level.
Here are some resources to help you:
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