Special Education Handbook
Children with special needs need extra attention and care. While they do not behave like the typical child in society, they deserve to be treated with the same respect and treatment as everyone else. They are often exposed to unneeded attention and curiosity of the onlookers. External factors and genetics are the primary reasons why they turned out to be the way they are. And these kids are hypersensitive to their surroundings and are responsive to the treatment they receive. While we cannot change nature, we can always adjust our actions and consider that sensitivity goes a long way.
Table of Content
- What Is a Special Education Handbook?
- The United States’ Special Education and Its Roots
- Who Are Qualified for Special Education?
- Special Education in Numbers
- Special Education Teacher Salary
- How to Make a Special Education Handbook
What Is a Special Education Handbook?
A Special Education or SPED Handbook is a handbook containing all the proper procedures of handling children with special needs. It serves as a reference for all teachers concerned in special education. It consists of the tools and equipment to intentionally make the students’ learning smooth and easy. Aside from the tools and equipment, it also consists of the procedures for the students and parents to be qualified.
The United States’ Special Education and Its Roots
According to Arkansas State University, before 1961, students with special needs didn’t have a place in general education. Parents have the option of paying for private education or educating them at home. In 1975, the United States made public education accessible to all students including the ones with disabilities. This law was then labeled as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act which eventually became the Individual With Disabilities Act of 2004. This law has been continuously revised to properly answer the needs of handicapped individuals.
Who Are Qualified for Special Education?
Understood states that students who are eligible for receiving special education are the following:
- Health Impairment
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Emotional Disturbance
- Specific Learning Disability
- Visual Impairment/Blindness
- Speech Impairment
- Hearing Impairment/Blindness
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Intellectual Disability
- Multiple Disabilities
- Orthopedic Impairment
The list above is not limited and can cover a lot of areas. Students who do not fall under the categories listed above will not be qualified for receiving special education.
Special Education in Numbers
According to Special Education Degree, the most commonly reported disability in children from ages 3-17 is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Special education requires huge funding considering the additional tools and equipment to educate the students. Identifying disabled students is the highest cost-inducing factor in special education.
Special Education Teacher Salary
Being involved with special education requires more patience and understanding on the teacher’s end. Therefore, higher pay is needed for such a demanding job. A SPED teacher’s salary differs from state to state, the age of your students, the location, and your experience. According to an article by study.com, special education teachers earn $58,980 yearly. Public and private special education schools offer different salary rates and you can teach for preschool, elementary, middle school, or high school students.
To be a SPED teacher, you must possess qualities that make you handle students with special needs. These qualities include being highly intuitive, highly adaptable, and patient. In between classes, students may have emotional disturbance that can disrupt the whole class. So you need to be really patient and understanding. Ideally, you must also have a natural inclination towards children.
How to Make a Special Education Handbook
Creating your special education handbook can be really time-consuming considering the comprehensive information covering a wide range of topics. Below, we will provide you easy tips on how to make one:
1. Look for Inspiration
Like we have stated before, a special education handbook is time-consuming because of the comprehensive information it entails. It must provide clarity and must be free from confusion for both parents and teachers. To help you with the content of your handbook, look for inspiration and make other special education handbooks as your reliable source. If there are areas that need to be revised, then you may do so as you go along your handbook.
2. Create a Draft of What Should Go Into Your SPED Handbook
You cannot just jump into making your handbook without making a draft first. With a pen and paper, write down the information that should be included in the SPED handbook. It should cover several topics such as FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education), Education Laws, SPED Laws, Special Education Eligibility, Role of Parents, Students, Evaluation and Eligibility, and many more.
3. Emphasize Additional Considerations
Considering the limited capabilities of the students, it will also be important if you provide them additional considerations. You may provide them free carpooling services to ease their transportation to school. Aside from carpooling services, virtual schooling and home service speech therapy can also be provided.
4. Review the Handbook
When you get caught in time, you tend to overlook the errors in the context. Take your time in reading the whole handbook and detect the errors in it. The content should be accurate and free from errors. Errors in your handbook can lead to confusion among the readers. Have it reviewed by the school administration and other persons in authority.
5. Update Regularly
Reference materials change over time. They are constantly revised to produce the inclusive and best version possible. Don’t be afraid to revise your SPED handbook from time to time if you think it needs revision. Make sure to let your school employees know about the revision through acknowledgment forms to avoid confusion and disputes in the future.
6. Publish Your Special Education Handbook
Once the handbook is finalized, seek a publishing house that’s within the range of your budget. Produce multiple copies for your school employees and parents. After publishing the handbook, distribute it to the school staff and parents.
You can also provide a softcopy or an ebook of your handbook if you are working on a tight budget.
Special education is one delicate and comprehensive topic. Consideration and inclusivity need to be incorporated in the technicality of it all. You have to ensure that the students receive equal treatment and that they are receiving the same quality education as the regular students. SPED handbooks should cover all these. Encourage a non-discriminating and inclusive community for other students to emulate.
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