Working with Children with Special Needs
When there's a problem...
Children have different styles and rates of learning. If the child in your class has difficulty participating fully in the classroom, either academically or socially, and the difficulty is beyond the range of your expectation, the class norms and normative data, it warrants a further look. Problems may present themselves in one or more of the learning domains – motor, cognitive, social/emotional, language, sensory or other. Make formal observations of the things that concern you and check your observations with resources within your school. Talk to parents about your questions for a more complete picture of the child. The questions to ask yourself are: "Where is this child experiencing difficulty, how do I need to teach him/her and what information/resources do I need?" If you are unable to meet this child's needs within your school resources, you might consider an evaluation to answer remaining questions.
How should I talk to/advise parents?
What is an IEP?
IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. It is a document generated by the Committee on Special Education in conjunction with teachers, evaluators and parents that directs the educational planning for the child. It describes the child's present level of performance based on a recent evaluation, the goals for the year and expected outcomes, the special education services mandated and their frequency and any required accommodations. The IEP is given to the parents and is made available to teachers and service providers. Goals must address issues that are preventing the child from full participation in the classroom at developmentally expected levels and be directly related to evaluation findings. They are written to be achieved within one year with measurable short term goals and accountability built in. The IEP is reviewed each year at an annual review, throughout the year at team meetings and on an on-going basis as part of curriculum development.