Special education is the education of students with special needs in a way that addresses the students' individual differences and needs. Ideally, this process involves the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials, accessible settings, and other interventions designed to help learners with special needs achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success in school and community than would be available if the student were only given access to a typical classroom education.
Common special needs include learning difficulties, communication challenges, emotional and behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, and developmental disorders. Students with these kinds of special needs are likely to benefit from additional educational services, different approaches to teaching, access to a resource room and use of technology.
Intellectual giftedness is a difference in learning and can also benefit from specialized teaching techniques or different educational programs, but the term "special education" is generally used to specifically indicate instruction of students whose special needs reduce their ability to learn independently or in a classroom, and gifted education is handled separately.
The opposite of special education is general education. General education is the standard curriculum presented with standard teaching methods and without additional supports.
- National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY)
- Council for Exceptional Children
- Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services U.S. Department of Education
- When It's Your Own Child: A Report on Special Education from the Families Who Use It Public Agenda, 2002 (US)
- Inclusive Education in Scotland (UK)
- LD Online