In this episode we take a look at the world of Special Education. What exactly is Special Education? How do teachers become Special Education teachers? How and why has the concept of Special Education changed over the years from isolation and institutionalization to mainstreaming and inclusion, and has it worked? How do researchers determine what works and what doesn’t work? And are the current budget problems that so many state governments face affecting Special Education in our schools?
Our guest for this episode has answers to all of those questions and many other questions. Paula Lancaster is a Professor of Special Education and the Chair of the Special Education, Foundations, and Technology Department at Grand Valley State University in West Michigan. We talked about a wide range of issues including the questions above, as well as discussing some of the major misconceptions about Special Education; the differences in how Special Education is handled by public schools, charter schools, and private schools; how Special Education changes from elementary school to middle school, to high school, and college; to the importance of special needs children learning to advocate for themselves; how to make sure that the information you’re finding is proven to work versus a marketing scam; and a lot more. This is one of the longest episodes of Special Parents Confidential that we’ve recorded, but Paula shares some very important information that you and everyone who is interested in Special Education need to know.
Links Mentioned In The Podcast:
What Works Clearinghouse – The Institute of Education Sciences. Providing educators (parents can use it too) with the information they need to make evidence based decisions.
LD Online – Learning Disabilities Online. The world’s leading website on learning disabilities and ADHD.
Council For Exceptional Children – The Voice and Vision of Special Education. Excellent resource site.
National Dissemination Center For Children With Disabilities – Another excellent resource website. Provides easy-to-read information on children with disabilities from infants to early 20s.
Note: Paula’s advice on researching information: Whenever you encounter a site that you’re not certain whether the info is credible, scroll down to the bottom (or check ‘about us’ info), and find out who is responsible for the website content.
The Self-Advocacy Strategy – Paula and Sean Lancaster’s software package that teaches children the strategies of negotiation and self-advocacy. Great for all kids, not just special needs children.
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