Special students need specific educational plans in order to reach their full potential. With their unique way of learning, it is difficult for them to keep up with the regular curriculum.
In order to obtain a plan for a child, there is a protocol that must be followed.
Step 1: Diagnosis and Identification of Special Needs
The first step in the special education program is to determine whether a child really needs individual attention or not. Once a parent or teacher identifies that a child may need special education, a medical diagnosis is helpful.
When it is evident that a student needs some extra help, an evaluation is arranged with a professional team. Usually, two programs are organized for these arrangements:
Child Find is a facility that helps identify disabilities in children at a young age. It works under the state and checks young children for learning difficulties.
Referral Evaluation Program
This facility is normally contacted by the school when the teachers notice particular symptoms in a student. But they can also be reached if a parent asks the school to request an evaluation.
While the teachers are responsible for arranging a meeting, they do require an official consent from the parents. If the parents are not on board, no one can force them. Even if their child is in dire need of special education, nothing can be done without the family’s permission.
Another important aspect that should be considered in this step is that not all children are the same. Some problems are diagnosed at a very early age, while others take time to show symptoms.
Step 2: The Evaluation Process
When you have successfully arranged a meeting, a team approaches you. This team consists of several professionals belonging to different fields of special education. They are the experts that determine whether a child has a difficulty in learning or not.
In the meeting, they run a couple of tests and evaluate the abilities of your child. After this session, they let you know their decision and explain to you if your child needs special care or not. If the results are positive and he needs extra attention, then they make an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Note that the parents have the right to disagree with the professionals at any time. No one can impose their decision on them. If they do not find the committee’s decision to be the best for their child, they can file a complaint. Also, they can request an unbiased external evaluation if they are unsatisfied with the previous results.
Step 3: The Individualized Education Plan
Once the evaluation has taken place, and it is decided that the child will require special care, this plan is then mapped out. Every student is different and has their individual needs. Curriculum must be structured in a way that checks the marks and forms an environment where the student can reach their full potential.
This plan is not arranged by any one member, but it involves a team. The main idea behind this approach is to make a balance where the school and the family can work in collaboration.
In the educational plan, certain milestones are decided based on the student’s IQ level. And if anything is changed or the student is not comfortable with the structure, the settings are then revisited to make the required changes.
All of the decided terms are noted in writing so that no party can withdraw from their decision. Keep in mind that during all this, the family has every right to disagree and point out their reservations.
Step 4: Updates and Annual Meetings
Once the program begins, it is a big step for both the student and the family. To help build trust, the school remains in constant contact with the guardians. From daily to weekly reports, everything is arranged to satisfy parents.
Another important aspect of the specialized program is its annual meetings. While the school maintains communication throughout the year, the committee calls an annual meeting to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the student and to plan the next steps in the child’s education.
At this point, if the parents disagree on anything, the previous plan is continued until a consensus is reached.
Step 5: Reevaluation
While the team calls a meeting every year, constant evaluation is a crucial part of special education. For that, the team arranges a reevaluation meeting once every three years. In this meeting, they once again check the student and go through all his strengths and weaknesses. This is exactly like the first one, but this time, they also have some data to work with.
Just like before, if the student is fit to continue a regular curriculum, he is transferred into the normal sections. But if he still requires special attention, the individual plan is continued. Likewise, if it needs any changes, they are implemented as well.
In a Nutshell
Having a child with a need for special care and attention can leave the parents in a confused state. As a society, we are not trained to cater to such children. And raising one can be a difficult process. On top of that, providing them with a quality education is a continuous struggle in itself.
The steps mentioned above are a summary of this process. If you or your loved ones have a special needs child, you can take guidance from this article. Following these steps, you can easily give your special young one an education that he or she needs.