Most students begin their educational experience in general education classrooms. It is here that students with learning or behavioral difficulties are most often identified. If you are a parent, you may wonder how your child’s teacher has concluded that there is an issue; if you are a teacher, you may be wondering what you can do if you suspect that a child has a learning or other disability. In the Response to Intervention (RTI) section you will find the answers to these questions. Here, parents will gain insight into how general education teachers offer multiple types of assistance to your child before concluding that a problem exists. Teachers will find practical ways to implement the elements of RTI in their classrooms so that they can be confident that their students are receiving the appropriate level of support in the least restrictive environment (LRE).
In addition to addressing academic difficulties through RTI strategies, teachers are encouraged to utilize RTI when working with students with behavioral challenges. In the Behavior and Classroom Management section, parents and teachers will find practical, positive ways to facilitate appropriate and socially-acceptable behaviors. Teachers will find a guide with seven tips from an experienced educator that will help them promote social responsibility and positive relationships within the classroom environment. Both parents and teachers will learn about the purpose and use of the functional behavioral assessments and behavior intervention plans that may be necessary to prevent disruptive behavior and help students succeed in the classroom.
If a student has not responded to multiple interventions and continues to struggle in the general education classroom, he or she may be referred for special education services. Students who struggle do not necessarily need special education services outside the general education classroom; some may need only minor accommodations and modifications in order to be successful in the general education environment. In the Inclusion section, parents and teachers will gain insight into the theory behind inclusion, and learn new and useful ways to include all students in lessons, regardless of ability.
If a team determines that a student cannot be successful without special education services, parents and teachers should have a good understanding of what special education is really all about. In the What is Special Education? section, parents and teachers will learn about the process through which students qualify for special education services, and find out what makes a child eligible for these services. Here, you will also find an explanation of the legal rights of parents and students during this process.
Once a student has qualified for special education services, school officials and parents will work together to create an individualized education program (IEP). Although the IEP process and its accompanying document can seem tedious, when approached collaboratively, they can be highly effective in supporting individual students’ needs. In the Individualized Education Programs (IEP) section, you will find a succinct description of the IEP process, letting you know what to expect from beginning to end. In addition, you will find tips to help parents and school officials work collaboratively to write compliant, child-centered IEPs.
The significance of collaboration between parents and teachers throughout a child’s education cannot be understated; this is doubly important for a student receiving special education services or interventions. In The Parent-Teacher Partnership section, you’ll find articles loaded with tips and advice for both parents and teachers on topics ranging from transition to IEP conflict resolution to consistency between the home and the classroom.