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Special Education

This section examines several key issues involved in special education services as mandated under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), amended in 2004. For information on recent changes to the law, check our featured section on IDEA 2004. Be sure to also learn about the laws and regulations that govern special education in your state.

There are 94 articles in this section.

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"Learning Disabilities" Movement Turns 50

Fifty years ago, the learning disabilities (LD) advocacy movement began. This article by Landmark College education professor Dr. Jim Baucom explores the history of the movement and future directions. The article originally appeared on the Washington Post web site on April 12th, 2013.

Language-Based Learning Disability: What to Know

Language-based learning disabilities (LBLD) encompass a spectrum of cognitive and behavioral differences in processing, comprehending, and using language. Students with LBLD commonly experience difficulties with listening, speaking, reading, writing, spelling, math, organization, attention, memory, social skills, perseverance, and self-regulation. However, a teaching style that is specialized and structured enables students with LBLD to succeed. Learn the essential facts about how to foster the strengths of students with LBLD in this article.

Facilitating Success for Students with Language-Based Learning Disabilities

For students with learning disabilities (LD), a sense of competence and ability (also known as self-efficacy) plays a vital role in their social and emotional development as well as academic achievement. Discover how educators can adapt their teaching style to support social and emotional development (including self-efficacy) in students with language-based LD.

Writing IEP Goals

Learn how to write Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, use action words, realistic, and time-limited) and based on research-based educational practice.

Learning Disabilities: Implications for Policy Regarding Research and Practice

Back-to-School: Tips for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Our top 8 back-to-school tips for parents emphasize communication, organization, and staying up-to-date on special education news.

Back-to-School: Tips for Special Education Teachers

Our top 10 back-to-school tips for special education teachers emphasize communication, organization, and a focus on student success.

Back-to-School Tips for Special Education Teachers

Our top 10 back-to-school tips for special education teachers emphasize communication, organization, and a focus on student success.

Working with Your Child's Teacher to Identify and Address Math Disabilities

An expert explains how math disabilities are identified and how parents can work with teachers to help their kids.

Paths to Inclusion

Fighting For Your Child

Having seen her older son struggle for years, Jennifer Simpson was able to recognize her daughter�s reading challenges in preschool and get her help right away.

Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner

In the first chapter of her book, Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner, Kathy Kuhl explains how she came to the realization that school wasn't working for her son and decided to do what she never thought she could: stay home and teach him.

Feeling Safe at School: How New Technologies Can Help

Children with learning disabilities often feel unsafe. Learn ways that technology can help children with learning disabilities feel safe and secure in school, such as: creating maps that will help the student know where they are in the building; giving them advance access to education material so they can prepare; and reminding them of routines.

Is It a Reading Disorder or Developmental Lag?

How do parents know if their child's reading delay is a real problem or simply a "developmental lag?" How long should parents wait before seeking help if their child is struggling with reading? Susan Hall answers these questions.

Documenting Communication with the School About Special Services

When dealing with a bureaucracy, and school districts are bureaucracies, you need to keep detailed records. Logs, journals, and calendars provide answers and support memories and testimonies. This article provides examples of how to keep a paper trail.

Understanding the Special Education Process

This overview from the PACER Center walks parents through each step of the special education process, describing what happens from the time a child is referred for evaluation through the development of an individualized education program (IEP).

Response to Intervention (RTI): A Primer for Parents

Learn what questions to ask about Response to Intervention (RTI), an approach to helping struggling learners that is gaining momentum in schools across the country. This article from the National Association of School Psychologists tells you the most important features of the process, key terms, and RTI's relationship to special education evaluation.

Do Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic Learners Need Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic Instruction?

How does the mind work — and how does it learn? Teachers' instructional decisions are based on a mix of theories learned in teacher education, trial and error, craft knowledge, and gut instinct. Such gut knowledge often serves us well, but is there anything sturdier to rely on?

Disabilities That Qualify Infants, Toddlers, Children, and Youth for Services under IDEA 2004

Learn which children are eligible for services under IDEA, the special education law. This article lists thirteen disability categories, including specific learning disability, and defines them.

Identification of Specific Learning Disabilities

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