Differentiated Classroom Instruction: Special Education Letty Sulpizio and Vanessa Pipkin Professor Catherine Schmidt LeTourneau University Spring 2012
AbstractSpecial education can seem like a foreign country atfirst, where people speak a strange language and work witha unique set of rules. The purpose of this paper is to givethe reader some insight on some of thecomponents, language, and rules that make up our TexasSpecial Education Program. We have gathered informationregarding the programs purpose, ARD identificationprocess, classroom differentiation, and service deliverymodels as implemented in the state. We will take a look athow teachers can team up with parents and professionalswho are working towards the same goal - to help everystudent reach their maximum potential and see themsucceed both inside and outside of the classroom andbecome contributing members of society.
Program Purpose To build collaborative, trustingrelationships with parents and the community.
Tools Used by School Districts to Support the Goal ARC of TEXAS - governed by federal law in most educational jurisdictions and explains the systematic ARD process for parents new to the special education and related services program. Section 504 - students who do not qualify for special education and related services under the IDEA, might still be eligible to receive this service. 504 believes in granting students an equal opportunity to participate in all activities and services a school has to offer. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – U.S. Governing law. Special Education is a specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.
Identification ~ ARD Process (Admission, Review, and Dismissal) TWO WAYS CHILDREN CAN BE REFERRED1. The “Child Find” System - each state is required by IDEA to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities in the state who need special education and related services.2. The “Referral or Request for Evaluation” System - the parent, teacher or other professional involved in a students education will refer the student suspected of having a disability to special education and related services.
"Child Find" System• Conducted by the state and performs what is known as, "Child Find activities."• When a child is identified by Child Find as possibly having a disability and as needing special education, parents may be asked for permission to evaluate their child.
"Referral or Request for Evaluation" System • The school is responsible for gathering necessary information about the child in order to decide if he or she will have to be evaluated or tested. • The collection of information will include information already known about the child, any school files, as well as recent test scores. • During the referral process, the district will send parents a "Notice of Rights" informing parents about the actions the school would like to take regarding the childs education, and parental rights.
"Referral or Request for Evaluation" System (cont.) • If the school feels that the child does not need to be evaluated for special education and related services, the district will send parents a letter explaining reasons for their decision and steps parents should take. • If the referral process shows that a student does need special education and related services, the school will get parental consent and do a full individual initial evaluation or testing to determine if the student has a disability and in need of special education and related services. • The school will then have sixty calendar days to complete the evaluation process from the date the school received written consent for testing as signed by the parent or legal guardian. • Once the evaluation is complete, the school will contact the parents to schedule an ARD meeting.
ARD COMMITTEE(Admission, Review, and Dismissal) Typically meets once a year to develop the childs IEP. MEMBERS OF THE ARD COMMITTEE:• Parents• Child with the disability• Regular education teacher of the child• Special education teacher of the child• School representative supervisor for special education and related services• Someone who can explain the evaluation process is also part of the ARD Committee and anyone who has expertise in regards to the child and invited by the parent or school.
IEP(Individualized Education Program) An agreement or written plan between the school and parents on how the student will be educated. It is signed by the parents and reviewed by the ARD Committee. Consists Of: The child’s present level of performance, annual goals, as well as short-term objectives, services to be provided, any modifications to state requirements, and how progress will be monitored. A child is re-evaluated at least every three years.
Helpful Components Classroom Differentiation Differentiation is "the way a teacher prepares instruction to meet the needs of all the children in an inclusive classroom, from the mostchallenged to the most gifted. Differentiating instruction is not only going to help special education students participate, but it will also enrich and improve the experience of the general education students. Everybody wins." (Webster, 2012) Service Delivery ModelsThe Arc of Texas (2012) describes a general education support model as a child with special needs who receives special education while remaining in a general education classroom setting.
Our Belief We believe that children have enough difficulties growing up and sometimes those difficulties are evident from the beginning, but sometimes they are not so obvious. In fact, sometimes these difficultiesonly become noticeable later in the early elementary years. Some learning disabilities may be difficulty learning to read or write. Others, however, may find it hard to take in and remember new information. Yet, other children might have difficulty with behavior or language barrier. Anytime a student is struggling in school whether it bedifficulty focusing or concentrating, or show signs of emotional, mental, orbehavioral issues, or perhaps just struggling to keep up academically due to learning style or language barriers, these might all be warning signs thatsomething is not right and it is important to find out what and why quick! It may very well be that the child has a disability.
BY LAW - schools must provide special help to eligiblechildren with disabilities.If you, as an educator, notice any of these signs in yourstudents, please choose to be a part of the solution andpart of the Committee that can make a big difference inthat childs life.
ReferencesTexas Project First. (2004). The Special Education Process Step-by-Step. In ARD/IEP Meeting. Retrieved February 1, 2012, from http://texasprojectfirst.org/SEProcessStep5.html. The Arc of Texas. (2012). 2012 IDEA Manual . In IDEA, The Manual for Parents and Students about Special Education Services in Texas, 2012. Retrieved February 1, 2012, from http://www.thearcoftexas.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ARC_Idea. Webster, J. (2012). Differentiation in Special Education: DifferentiatingInstruction for Success. In Planning for Success in an Inclusive Classroom. Retrieved February 2, 2012, from http://specialed.about.com/od/integration/a/root.htm