Week 2 Journal
The second chapter of the book deals with planning and provision of special education services. To begin with, the author points out that special education is planned and specialized at an individual level. He then outlines the basic steps involved in planning, providing and evaluating special education. The first step is pre-referral intervention. Here, the child’s learning, behavior or development indicates a possible disability and parents are notified. With parents’ consent, an evaluation team determines if the child meets the criteria for a disability category and is therefore eligible for special education. The next step involves developing an individual tailored program by an Individual Education Program (IEP) team to meet the child’s needs.
The team then determines the placement of the child in the least restrictive environment. The general classroom is considered as the starting point and the child is required to participate in the school’s general curriculum and extracurricular activities. Parents are provided with reports on their children’s progress toward meeting the IEP goals. Once every three years, a multi-factored evaluation of each child with a disability is conducted to determine if the child still needs special education. If the disability is no longer present, or the child’s education no longer affected by the disability, the student is declassified and special education is discontinued. The chapter also offers insight into collaboration, which involves coordination and consultation; teaming of teachers, related service personnel, paraprofessionals and IEP teams; and co-teaching.
The third chapter discusses collaboration with parents and families in a culturally and linguistically diverse society. With the family being the most powerful influence in a young child’s life, utmost importance should be given by educators to parents and other family members. Parents have continually, and successfully, advocated for equal access to educational opportunities for their exceptional children. Educators too have had to expand their traditional role of the classroom teacher to include designing and implementing instructional programs that enable students with disabilities to use various skills in school, at home and in the community. Parent and family involvement was also mandated by legislators in the Education of All Handicapped Children Act, strengthening the role of parents and ensuring that families of these children have meaningful opportunities to participate in their lives.
Additionally, the chapter looks at the experience of working with culturally and linguistically diverse families. This involves understanding and respecting the demands and challenges faced by families who may be less educated, poor and isolated form the American culture, preventing them from getting involved in school partnerships. Moreover, communication methods between the home and school are discussed. These include Parent-Teacher conferences, written communication and telephone communication. Parents can also get involved in the education and lives of their children by becoming tutors themselves, joining parent-to-parent groups and as research partners.
This information can effectively be applied to classroom and instruction facilities. The first step of identifying a child with possible disabilities is essentially a task that is left to the parents and teachers of the child. In addition, the teacher is part of the IEP team and he or she should therefore closely monitor the progress of the student toward annual goals. Moreover, the information is useful for easier understanding of a teacher’s role in the child’s progress. Through coordination, consultation and teaming activities, a teacher gets any needed assistance and provides useful information about the exceptional child that he/she may have observed. This ensures that the student is accorded with the best possible education without hindrance by the disability.
Heward, W. L. (2009). Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special Education. (9th Ed.). Columbus, OH: Merrill.
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