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4 myths about special education in Texas

Posted on in Special Education Law

If your child has special needs due to a disability and qualifies for special education, you may worry that it places a label on them that will be hard to overcome. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Texas laws rule that children with disabilities are eligible for a free, appropriate public education.

This education often means school-provision of special education and related services designed to meet your child’s unique needs and help them prepare for additional education, employment and independent living. As a parent, you are an integral part of designing and measuring your child’s educational progress.

Overcoming special education myths

Many Texas parents worry that unfair and untrue notions about special education may adversely impact their children. Here are four common myths about special education and the facts:

Myth #1: Kids in special education classes are separated from other students.

  • Truth: The IDEA stipulates that children in special education share classrooms with typical peers as much as possible. This is known as putting your child in the least restrictive environment (LRE). Research shows that kids with disabilities spend about 80% of their day in general education classrooms.

Myth #2: Special education is only for children with severe disabilities.

  • Truth: Most kids who qualify for special education are not severely disabled. The majority have a specific learning challenge, including kidswith learning disabilities in reading and math.

Myth #3: Kids in special education are forever labeled.

  • Truth: It’s natural for you to worry about distasteful and erroneous notions about special education. However, the system focuses on your child’s individual needs for an appropriate education. You’ll work with teachers, so they understand who your child is, not just address test scores and evaluations.

Myth #4: My child can’t participate in activities with other kids.

  • Truth: The law allows children with special needs to participate in all activities – inside and outside of school. It’s also true that some children have physical or social limitations that make some interactions difficult, but it’s up to you and your child to determine what’s appropriate.

Special education is an evolving process

As a parent, you only want what’s best for your children. If they have special needs, debunking these myths and focusing on the truth is vital to their development.

It all starts with your input as a parent to the ARD (admission, review, and dismissal) committee, which is made up of school officials. Together, you will help develop an individualized education program (IEP) that meets your child’s individual needs.

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