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Adaptive Instruction for Teacher Education: Inclusive Approaches, Resources and Technology
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What is Special Education?


To paraphrase the wording of the Education Act: All children are entitled to education according to their needs.  Some children have special or different educational needs.

These special educational needs arise mainly due to inherent, congenital or developmental differences which make it difficult for these students to learn by regular teaching practices. The differences may be physical differences, or developmental differences that affect the child's intellectual, linguistic (oral language), cognitive (how the brain functions) or social emotional functioning.

How and when are these differences seen and the needs addressed?

1. Early Identification
Some of these differences are evident and are seen early in development and so many of these children receive special education support as early as kindergarten.  These would include students who have severe intellectual and developmental delays, are severely autistic, are visually impaired or who have neuro-muscular disorders or are hard of hearing.

2. Identification during school years
For other students their difficulties are not as 'visible' or evident and only arise once they enter school and start to learn to read, write and do math.  This group includes those students who have with mild or moderate intellectual delays, are  learning disabled (often inaccurately termed dyslexic), have social emotional difficulties as well as students who are gifted with extremely high intellectual and cognitive functioning.

3. There is a process for the identification of these student with special education needs which includes the identification of a specific category of exceptionality.

Refer to The IPRC Process, which describes the process of identification.

There are 5 types of Exceptionalities. The submenus on the right provide further details, such as defining criteria and some notes for each exceptionality that may be identified by the IPRC. 

Note: This website is more about the use of adaptive technology and its application to Universal Design and Differentiated Instruction than just special education.  Therefore, the submenus are provided simply to give additional information.

In order to differentiate instruction for students who are exceptional three approaches can be used to gather relevant and specific information. This information can also help to determine what applicable adaptive technology can be used to enhance learning opportunities for these students.

1. Use the identified exceptionality and the information from the defining criteria.

2. Use an IEP that has been developed for the student.  (Refer to the 2004 Ministry of Education Document, IEP). Also refer to the submenu titled IEP on the right.

3. Finding Common Ground between the various exceptionalities which also may have equal application to many other students in the class who may not have been identified. The idea of finding common ground is addressed in the Assignments section.