Frequently Asked Questions about Special Education

“Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly”.  -Morticia Addams


Following are the most frequently asked questions about special education.

 I hope it would help students, parents, administrators and my colleagues to understand special education.

1. What is Special Education?

Ans. Special Education can be broadly defined as a set of provisions for children who qualify for the special education services. These provisions are additional to general education and may include any or a combination of provisions:

One-one or small group sessions

Classroom accommodations

Accommodations from the Educational Board(CBSE)

Assistive technology

2.How is special education different from general education?

Ans. Special education is different from general education on three parameters:

Focus- Special Educator identifies specific areas and goals to remediate or teach skills to the child.

Intensity – Drills of specific skills are provided so that the child can learn with repetition.

Individualized- Special education is planned according to the needs of the child and tailored to suit his or her learning style.

3. Who provides Special Education?

Ans. Special education is provided by a special educator. Special educators are professionals who are one of the team members involved in identifying, assessing and delivering special education to the children with special needs. It is to be noted that general education teachers, principal and other administrators play an important role in the process of special education provision.

4.Who needs Special Education?

Ans.It’s a complex process to identify and target the population that needs special education. Basically, children with various types of learning difficulties (Intellectual impairment, communication impairment, developmental delay, physical impairment, specific learning disability, etc.) require special education. Sometime, children with a possibility of learning difficulty or at risk are also put on a special education program as a preventive measure.


5.What is learning difficulty?

Ans. Learning difficulty is a broader term which means that the child has significantly greater difficulty in learning than the majority of children of his or her age. Usually a learning difficulty calls for special education provision. The term “learning difficulty” is different from other similar terms like” specific learning disability” and “learning disorder”.  Specific learning disability is a diagnostic term used to define a set of children who have difficulties acquiring basic literacy skills of reading(dyslexia), writing(dysgraphia) and arithmetic(dyscalculia). Learning disorder is a generic term to define any diagnosis or disorder that poses hindrance to learning, e.g. ADHD can be called a learning disorder.


6.What are the common tools used by special educators to identify children with special needs?

Ans. Sharp and systematic observation is one tool that a special educator uses. They may use standardized tools like Grade Level Assessment Device (GLAD).


7.What is the importance of special education in schools?

Ans. We know that children have diverse needs and with the advent of inclusive education children with various abilities are being accommodated in regular schools. Hence special education can work to bridge this understanding by making caretakers (parents, principal, coordinators, and the general education teachers) to identify the diverse needs of children and make adequate provisions for their educational needs.

Sunita Poddar

Head of Special Education

CUBBE Child Care

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