8 Apr 2022


Special Education

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Academic level: College

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Special Education is that branch of education that is concerned with providing tailored learning to students with particular unique needs or learning difficulties in a way that addresses those specific needs. Such requirements may include, physical disability, learning disorders, deficient cognitive, and scholastic skills that may place them way below the average child (Stanberry, 2014). This branch of education adopts exceptional teaching methodology in to ensure that the proper needs of an eligible child are catered for.

Special needs education applies the unique methodology in determining whether a child qualifies for special education. This involves carrying several tests and evaluations intended to establish whether a child would need special education away from the conventional learning setting. Fundamentally, the US government provided the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to serve as an evaluation tool for verifying whether a child needs special education. The Act provides thirteen categories of disabilities and conditions that would qualify an individual for specialized learning. The IDEA categories include but are not limited to Autism Spectrum (ASD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Speech/Language Impairment, Visual and Hearing Impairment, Developmental Delay, and Emotional Disturbance.

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According to the Iowa State Department of Education, eligibility evaluation is carried out on two principles, that is, the presence of a disability and the need for specialized learning (2006). Individuals who are involved in the life of a child deemed to need special education should participate in carrying out tests to determine whether the child needs such education. Such individuals could be parents/guardians who have noted peculiar behavior in a child from what is considered the norm, teachers and psychologists from an institution of learning, and pediatricians (Stanberry, 2014). It is crucial to note, however, that physical disability may not necessitate the need for special schooling (SEG, n.d.). For instance, a physically challenged individual may not necessarily need special education if he/she can comfortably access traditional education without severely affecting his/her performance in school.

To determine whether an individual is eligible for special education, four common tests are used for this purpose. They include intelligence (IQ) tests, achievement tests, visual-motor integration, and language tests (Logsdon, 2016). These tests should be applied in unison, and relying on only one test cannot be used to finalize the decision to qualify an individual for this type of learning. Additionally, professional and experts in various fields of learning disabilities diagnosis should be relied upon in carrying these evaluations to make certain the need for exceptional schooling. Once an individual has been termed eligible, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) should be formulated according to his/her unique needs to ensure that he/she gets an education as close as possible to that of an ordinary individual.

The tests stated above exhibit certain key strengths as well as weaknesses. On a positive side, these tests ensure that, on establishing that a person qualifies for special schooling, an individualized teaching program is tailored to meet his/her unique needs. This way, people with disabilities can get a good education just as ordinary individuals do. Additionally, such assessment techniques are accurate since they employ tests that evaluate most educational aspects, if not all, of a person. They leave minimal margins for flaws in tested, and can, therefore, be termed credible. However, these tests also have inherent weaknesses. Mainly, some tests cannot be applied to children of tender age, for instance, IQ tests cannot be carried on children under the age of five since there’s not much that they know. Additionally, children between the age of one and six develop at different rates and have differences of opinion on the environment they are developing in.


Iowa Department of Education. (n.d). Special Education: Assessment and Testing . Retrieved from: https://www.educateiowa.gov/pk-12/special-education/assessment-testing

Iowa Department of Education. (2006). Special Education: Eligibility Standards. July Issue. Retrieved from: http://www.aea10.k12.ia.us/divlearn/specialeducation/docs/spedeligstandardsjuly2006.pdf

Logsdon, Ann. (2016). Learning Disabilities: Tests Used to Diagnose a Learning Disability . VeryWell. Retrieved from https://www.verywell.com/what-are-learning-disabilities-2162939

Stanberry, Kristin. (2014). Special Education Basics: Finding Out if Your Child is eligible for Special Education . Understood. Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/special-services/special-education-basics/finding-out-if-your-child-is-eligible-for-special-education

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Special Education.


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