Raven's Guide to Special Education
Comprehensive information about special education regulations,
procedures, evaluations, programs, and disabilities
The goal of any special education program should be to meet the individual educational needs of the students and, to the extent possible, prepare them for going to a more normal classroom setting. To achieve this, the program must focus on helping the students develop academic skills, self-help skills, social proficiency, a positive attitude and self-confidence. Successful special education programs give students a positive, secure school environment, a relevant curriculum, and a motivational system that rewards their efforts to improve. All programs must ensure that educational services are appropriate for each student and in compliance with state and federal special education regulations.
Developing an appropriate special education program involves assessing the role of the special education teacher and the needs of the students the teacher will serve. Program design should include developing an appropriate curriculum, a behavior management system, and a service delivery model.
The teacher's primary task is to create a school environment in which students will succeed, feel worthwhile and enjoy school. The teacher can best serve the needs of special education students by giving them instruction at their skill levels and learning experiences that progressively help them feel successful.
The teacher can help students develop socially, emotionally, and academically by providing an atmosphere of safety, respect, and trust. By communicating effectively, the teacher can promote healthy, positive relationships with the students and their families. Within most school settings, special education teachers are expected to:
Donald D. Quinn
If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office
at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn't
want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or
dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional
excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the
classroom teacher's job.
Teaching students with disabilities is not an easy task. Teachers, like everyone else, have both strengths and weaknesses. Effective teachers rely on personal strengths and change those weaknesses that interfere with professional performance. Effective teachers:
Teaching students with disabilities demands not only the ability to teach students with a wide range of intellectual and academic levels but also the ability to help students develop nonacademic behaviors (such as social skills, good work habits, and self-responsibility) that make school success possible. The teacher's most important task in preventing student misbehavior is to ensure their academic success by taking the following actions:
Affective education is instruction designed to help students acquire information, attitudes and skills that will promote appropriate behavior and mental health. The goal of affective education is to meet the social and emotional needs of students. To be most effective, teachers should plan affective education activities that meet each student's individual needs and that complement behavior management techniques and academic instruction. Affective education is based on three assumptions:
Effective special education programs offer a curriculum that helps students acquire useful skills. Consider the following questions in developing functional curriculum objectives for students with disabilities: