Educating Special Needs Children

Educating a child with special needs is an enormous topic — worthy of several books — but we’ll cover the basics here today.

The Most Important Part of Special Education

By far, without any question, is realizing there’s a problem and defining the problem. If a child makes it to kindergarten without anyone noticing anything dramatically wrong, it’s easy to assume the problem is something minor. (Sometimes, it actually is — we know of at least one child that was diagnosed with profound ADHD when his actual problem was nearsightedness; he wandered around the classroom not because he couldn’t focus, but because he was trying to get a better view of the activities.)

Further complicating the problem is the fact that many special-needs diagnoses are interrelated, or very similar in symptoms. For example, ADHD is strongly correlated with dyslexia, dyscalculia, and several similar diseases — but it’s not associated with the autism spectrum even though it shares far more symptoms in common with mild autism than it does with any of the dys- conditions. A child that doesn’t like to talk might be autistic, or they might have apraxia, or social anxiety disorder, or they might have a bad stutter… or they might be deaf and unable to hear you when you try to provoke a conversation. The point here is that special educators, no matter how skilled, cannot help a child if they’re using tools and techniques designed for the wrong disorder.

Special Needs is Not ‘Remedial.’

The next thing to remember is that there is a large difference between ‘special needs’ and ‘poor scholastic performance.’ Remedial education and special needs education have some overlap, but they are two different subjects — because ‘special needs’ can include scholastic affective disorders like dyslexia, but can just as easily include educating a brilliant but deaf student or a student with Asperger’s Syndrome that is an amazing mathematician and geographical wizard, but has trouble understanding the basics of social play and turn-taking. A good special needs program understands how to deal with gifted children — because being gifted is a special need — as well as those that need remedial assistance. Recognizing strengths has to be part and parcel of every special child’s education.

In fact, there is a special designation in special education — ‘2E’ — for those kids that are ‘twice exceptional,’ and require accommodation in both directions. A girl that is reading three grades above the rest of her classroom, but is also profoundly affected by ADHD and requires constant attention to stay on task — that’s 2E. A boy that is dyscalculic and cannot perform mental arithmetic, but is also a musical prodigy that masters new songs within days — that’s 2E. And these children are more common that most people understand.

The Same is True at Home

If it’s not obvious, these two overarching principles apply just as much to all of the lessons you teach your child at home as well. If you refuse to acknowledge that your child is different than the others, or if you assume that the problem is one thing without getting an expert diagnosis, you’re making a dire mistake. Similarly, learning that your child has dyslexia or ADHD doesn’t mean you have to treat them like they’re not as smart as a ‘normal’ kid — they are, they just have an issue they need your help overcoming.

Special Education Tools

Here are the biggest, broadest tools of special education, and how they relate to those principles:

The Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

The keystone of modern special education, IEPs serve as record-keeping, as a source of information for future educators, and as a tool for assessing the child’s progress. Each IEP contains information about the child’s diagnosis, known expressions thereof, and a record of every technique and tool used in the attempt to educate the child. Without an IEP, there is no individualization — and thus, there is no special education.

Your child’s doctor and/or the school’s specialists will tell you if they’ve been diagnosed with a condition that puts them in the ‘needs an IEP’ category. Not all children with a given diagnosis do — there are plenty of kids with ADHD who get by in mainstream school with no IEP, for example — but there are absolutely those who require special effort even if they receive and properly use a prescription such as Concerta or Adderall. Deciding whether a given child can cope with the school system ‘as-is’ or whether they require legitimate specialized education is part and parcel of the process.

The Special Education Crew and Room

Dealing with one special needs child at home can be quite difficult — imagine dealing with six, eight, or fifteen in a classroom setting! There’s simply no teacher, no matter how expert, who can predict how the kids will interact. When the ADHD kid jumps up partway through an assignment because he decided that spinning around in a circle is more fun than addition, and in his spinning he quite accidentally smacks the child with Oppositional Defiant Disorder in the back of the head, what will happen?

Will she scream at the top of her lungs and scare the autistic student into having a bathroom accident? Will she attack the ADHD boy and leave him wondering why he’s suddenly on the ground and bleeding from a scratch across the cheek? Or will she just upend her desk and get the entire room breaking down into a chaotic melee?

That’s why almost every special education classrooms features a ‘safe room,’ with padded walls and noise insulation a child can retreat to when they know they can’t cope. It’s also why every special educator comes with a squadron of assistants. Some of them are specialized therapists, like the speech pathologist or the occupational therapist; others are ‘simply’ other educators that are trained to deal with the occasional full-classroom breakdown and keep control.

Take-Home Lessons

As a parent, you can learn from these realities. Of course, you already individualize the attention you give your child — but do you keep a record of problems you encounter, solutions you attempt, and how well they succeed or fail? Can you see how that will be useful within a month or two? Do you have a ‘safe space’ the child is allowed to retreat to when overwhelmed? Ask your child’s teacher what tools they use that have worked for your child, and how you can implement similar strategies at home. Special education doesn’t have to — and shouldn’t — stop just because your child left the classroom.

Wedding Planning Books

The large number of wedding planning books that have flooded the market is the speaking proof of the fact that people consider the wedding day the most important moment of their lives and a first official step on the way of making a family. How can wedding planning books actually help you organize the big event? Well, first of all, remember that when you embark on this experience you may know little or nothing at all about what you have to do. Therefore, wedding planning books together with sites such as amazing wedding planning could be your best friends in terms of support for the big day.

What can one expect from a wedding planning book? First of all, you’ll learn lots about the etiquette, you’ll find great tips for the before wedding shower as well as information on how to create the perfect ceremony atmosphere. There may be cases when you want to be as original as possible and wedding planning books give you the pieces of the puzzle that may have been missing. For instance, you can organize the ceremony at twenty minutes to six pm, to mark the exact moment when you proposed or were proposed. That should have a nice impact on your guests, together with other tricks you may find in wedding planning books.

There are also common mistakes that you’ll find in wedding planning books, hence, you’ll know how to avoid some embarrassing situations. Some of the mistakes discussed in wedding planning books may seem common sense, but even for the best educated person, there will still be something further to learn. For instance, the table seating is largely dealt with in wedding planning books, since it is the element around which lots of mistakes are made. Carefully seat the young and the elder relatives and friends, so that they can well communicate and relate to each other. Remember that this is not just a party, but a most important social event for everyone.

Wedding planning books are quite cheap and useful, you can either order them online or buy them at the book shop. A nice and very accessible variant comes with the wedding planning books that can be downloaded from specialized sites; some of them are free of charge, some others require only a few dollars fee. Many of the wedding planning books come together with some extra materials, such as planning sheets and invitation patterns. Also read some reviews before you decide to turn to any of these, so that you make sure you don’t waste your money.

Education IRAs and Other IRA Accounts

Most high school graduates are pretty much on their own when it comes to furthering their education, since parents are not able to help due to the increased cost of living throughout the United States. This was usually the case until just recently, when many different programs were developed for aspiring college students to make their dreams come true. Because not all students qualify for financial aid and other programs, they are left to cover the entire cost of their education, including books, lab fees, and living costs.

One program that was recently developed is the Education IRA, which works just like a retirement IRA. IRAs are meant to help people save up for a certain event in their life, like retirement or college education. The Education IRA is meant to help students save up for their college education, unlike other programs, which only offer tax incentives for high education expenses.

An Education IRA is a tax-advantaged saving account program that was created in 1997 by the Taxpayer Relief Act. Anyone is able to contribute to an Education IRA, whether related to the account beneficiary or not. There is a $2,000 maximum limit to an Education IRA, as long as the parent’s earned income is under $190,000. Families with smaller incomes are able to make smaller contributions to the account, and individual filers are also granted the same option for contribution.

An Education IRA is very similar to a Roth IRA, since after-tax money is sheltered in an account to save up for a certain event. The money in the account will remain tax-free as long as all the money will go to education costs only. By setting a savings account up for education costs, a great amount of money can be made by the time a child is ready to continue their education. Education IRAs are best when they are started when the child is young, so they will have many years of built up interest to use for the child’s education.

An Education IRA is a very effective method when trying to get money to put a child through college, since it is earned money rather than a loan. Because all of the money earned on an Education IRA is actually earned and not loaned, there will be no payments to pay back any costs of education. Education loans carry high interest rates and can take years to pay off, but Education IRAs can cover all of the costs without having to pay anything back.

Setting up an education IRA for children is very important, because it gives them a chance to go to college and pursue any dream they wish. With the costs of college education rising, it is important to have a plan to put a child through school while they are still young, until waiting until the last minute and having to take out loans or refinancing homes.

It is not necessary to contribute the entire $2,000 each year for each student, and you actually can choose not to make any contributions in a given year. You can contribute to the account each year until the child reaches eighteen years of age, with the exception of special needs children who can receive contributions after their eighteenth birthday. If funds remain in the Education IRA account after the school is paid for, it is subject to taxes and penalties that are determined by the bank. Unlike most other IRA accounts, Education IRA accounts allow you to withdraw money at any time. It is up to the account holder to make sure the funds are going toward education only, since this is what is outlined in an Education IRA.

You can contact your local bank or financial institution for more information on Education IRA or any other type of IRA accounts.