Curriculum » Special Education Curriculum

Special Education Curriculum


What is a Student Study Team Meeting?

An SST is the first step in evaluating a student's performance. It is based on the specific problem-solving model for the regular education student developed by the California Department of Education in 1983. The SST includes the parent/guardian, the teachers of the student who may be able to offer suggestions or implement modifications, the school psychologist and the counselor or principal. At the meeting, the team discusses the student's strengths to help empower change. The areas of concern are then objectively identified in a manner, which acknowledges differences of perception. All relevant know information will be presented, and unanswered questions noted for future inquiry. The SST members brainstorm all possible solutions and list the solutions in priority order for action plans. The action plan specifies skills to be developed. The SST process specifies which persons will be responsible for implementing the action plan and the timelines for completion.

My child has been identified as having a learning disorder or disability. What is IDEA and what are my rights?

IDEA is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It provides federal funding to states to help guarantee special education and related services to eligible students.

How do I know if my child is eligible?

You may request an evaluation of your child or the school may also initiate an evaluation. The process begins with the request, usually by a parent or teacher. The SST meeting (explained above) is the first step in determining the need. It is a joint meeting between parents/guardians, teachers, counselor and/or the principal. If a student needs further evaluation, he/she will be referred for specific testing. Once a student has been identified with a disorder or disability, he/she will be given an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) for meeting his/her own individual academic goals.

What is an IEP?

An IEP is an Individualized Education Plan. It is required if your child is eligible for IDEA. An IEP is a written plan that describes the student's abilities, lists goals for the student and explains how the school, student and parents/guardians will work together to meet these goals.

My child has trouble paying attention in class. Could he have Attention Deficit Disorder?

ADD and ADHD are attention deficit disorders. It is usually noticed in childhood. It often includes overactive behavior called “hyperactivity,” and typically this child is one who “just can't sit still.” It may exist alone or include a learning disability such as dyslexia. ADHD may be related to a chemical imbalance in the brain, and seems to be more common in children from parents who have had or still have ADHD. Though only a qualified medical professional can diagnose the disorder, here are some common symptoms:

• Easily distracted
• Has a hard time following instructions and concentrating
• Leaves one unfinished task for another
• Doesn't listen
• Loses books, pencils or other items often
• Has difficulty waiting his or her turn
• Often interrupts
• Fidgets constantly
• Has difficulty remaining seated

Some children with ADD are not hyperactive, though they also appear to have difficulty concentrating and following directions. ADD and ADHD are treated a variety of ways after the initial diagnosis, including behavior modification, counseling, medication and educational planning.

You can help your child by:

• Encouraging good behavior
• Discourage inappropriate behavior consistently and clearly
• Separate the child from the behavior. Make it clear that you still love your child.
• Allow frequent breaks
• Remain calm
• Plan special time together
• Keep schedules and expectations clear and simple.