The words “special education” used to evoke images of contained classrooms of children that were removed from the general school population. Often riding in separate buses, eating lunch in their classrooms and generally differentiated from the school community, these children were naturally stigmatized. That system, while well-meaning, offered students who were already challenged little hope for success or even integration into society.

special education

Today’s “special education” begins with each child’s individual needs. Methods of teaching and of delivering help when required are as varied as the individual students they serve. Essential Skills has been at the forefront of this shift, developing educational software that’s accessible to students with special needs, including reading programs ideal for students with autism.

Types Of Special Education Services

The type and degree of assistance a student receives is determined by their level of need, specific disabilities and strengths, and ultimately their individualized education program (IEP). These may include excusing a student from some classroom activities to allow them time to focus on literacy skills using research-based reading programs for special education; withdrawal for a time to work with resource teachers or therapists; or placement in a contained class with a small cohort of other students with similar needs.

Process For Special Education Placement

1. Identification begins when a teacher or parent spots an area where a child is struggling to keep up with peers. Using reading programs for special education from Essential Skills can help to identify needs early on.

2. Referral is usually made by classroom teacher to a resource teacher.

3. Assessment may include examination of work, interviews with student, teachers, and parents, and possibly testing by a group that may include resource teachers, occupational therapists and other professionals.

4. Recommendations will be formalized in an IEP.


An Individualized Education Program is a legally binding document that outlines in detail any accommodations and modifications the student may benefit from. It is signed by parents and reevaluated annually by classroom and/or resource teachers. Modifications are usually applied to children with moderate to severe learning disabilities. Modifications will state that the curriculum will be modified in grade level or required workload. Students with full curriculum modifications that are performing well below their grade level may be placed in a self-contained class with a higher teacher: student ratio and differentiated learning activities. Research-based reading programs for special education from Essential Skills are popular with students and teachers alike. They allow kids to work at their own level and provide immediate reward, giving students a sense of accomplishment.

Accommodations are designed to help students overcome disabilities so they can perform on an equal basis as their peers. Some accommodations are tools and equipment (stress ball for ADHD, study carrell and noise reducing headphones for ASD), extra time for testing, scribing or voice-to-text software. Reading programs for special education are frequently specified, and Essential Skills offers the best, with structured systematic lessons in the form of fun activities that will make every child feel special.