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The Special Education Process Explained

The purpose of special education is to “level the playing field” by providing specialized services to students with disabilities so that they can succeed academically.

Parents and educators know that children with special needs have gifts and talents—it’s just a matter of unleashing their full potential, and making sure that their parents and teachers have the right information, tools and support to help them. That’s where Special Education Guide comes in. We are your go-to resource for mastering the terminology, procedures and best practices in special education.

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Bring in the Experts

We draw upon the expertise of parents, educators and researchers to provide the information you require, from early identification to individualized education plans (IEPs) and response to intervention (RTI), as well as behavior management, parent-teacher relations, inclusion, technology tools and research. Our writers are experts in special education; they bring you practical information that you can apply in the classroom, your next IEP meeting or at home.

Learning is Power

It’s important to make sure that your child or student with special needs is learning; that means that you need to understand the ins and outs of special education. The Special Education Dictionary has a laundry list of terms and acronyms to help you make sense of all the jargon. You’ll be speaking “SPED” before you know it! Our Disability Profiles will help you understand how federal laws define disabilities eligible for special education services, and provide practical information on typical characteristics, as well as tips on addressing educational challenges.

Our Early Intervention section addresses services for the youngest children with special needs, from birth to their third birthdays. If you live or work with children under age 3 who have a disability or experience difficulty in learning, early identification and early intervention can make a profound difference in their educational and behavioral progress. Your active participation in the identification and assessment process is key.

Parents and teachers of children age 3 to 18 can go to our Pre-K to 12 section to learn what to expect, with a review of the special education process and detailed accounts of how schools develop individualized education programs (IEP) and response to intervention (RTI) plans for students. We also help parents and educators use assessments and observations to develop effective action plans to use at home, addressing topics such as behavior and classroom management and how parents and teachers can work together. In addition, you can discover the power of effective inclusion and how accommodations and modifications can produce measurable results.

Celebrate the Individual

Addressing a child’s educational and behavioral needs is not a cookie-cutter process. You need ongoing support, resources and tools that keep you informed and assist you along the way. Special Education Guide will help you navigate the process of educating children with special needs, honoring their unique gifts and potential.


The Steps in Early Intervention (IDEA Part C)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that mandates that all states must provide children, including those with disabilities, with a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). Part C of IDEA provides for early intervention (EI) services for at-risk children from birth to their third birthdays. EI services [...] More


Functional Behavior Assessment and Behavior Intervention Plans

The Functional Behavior Assessment Functional behavioral assessment (FBA) is a part of the positive behavioral support (PBS) mandated by IDEA 2004. Good classroom management and structured classroom discipline stop most disruptive behavior, but some students will continue to disrupt. These students need more help so that they can stay in class and succeed. FBA [...] More


What is Special Education?

Where to Begin One of the last things that most parents want to hear is that their child has a disability and requires special education services. You may begin to feel panicked when you are presented with the overwhelming amount of information about special education available on the Internet. As difficult as [...] More