The Special Education Process Research Paper Examples

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Education, Disability, Children, Students, Family, Evaluation, Learning, Idea

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/04

Other Details

Not all students learn at the same pace. Learning capabilities differ from individual to individual. However, the disparity in learning capabilities among children of the same age is not significant. It is for this reason that children of the same age usually study together. Occasionally however one may encounter a child who has learning capabilities below that of his peers. This may be because of an emotional disturbance, a physical disability, or a neurological or psychological disorder. Special education is an emerging branch of education that deals with education of such children who are unable to learn at the same pace as their peers and achieve similar levels of performance. The process of special education involves identification of students with special needs and individual planning for the education and development of each child based on his special needs (DOE Alaska, 2013).
The IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) passed in 1975 entitles each student with disabilities to get education in a manner suitable to his needs. The more recent NCLBA (No Child Left Behind Act) requires development of assessment programs in basic skills. The standards for assessment are developed at the state level with each developing its own standards ( There have been claims that IDEA and NCLB do not adequately cover students with special needs. Some also contend that the existing system of identification and intervention for special education needs is not adequate. In this paper, we examine the provisions of IDEA and NCLBA through the lens of special education. We also examine the existing system of identification and referral in New York City with a view to assessing its adequacy and need for improvement (Gargiulo, 2011).

Research Question: Is the existing system of referral, evaluation and certification for special education in New York City appropriate?

Individuals with Disabilities Act
The provisions of IDEA entitle every student with disabilities to receive in a manner best suited to his special needs. In a paper published by NICHCY (National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities original name National Information Center for Handicapped Children and Youth), the organization lists the disabilities eligible under IDEA. The act makes the states legislatures responsible for providing necessary facilities for disabled individuals. IDEA requires that in order to receive special services, the child must be formally evaluated. The objective of evaluation is to see whether the child falls within the purview of the act and identify the special needs of the child. The act also includes infants and toddlers under the age of three years. IDEA identifies specific areas of disabilities including cognitive impairment, physical impairment, social and emotional impairment, and development impairment among others. Thirteen specific categories of disability including autism, emotional disturbance, hearing & visual impairments, and learning disabilities are covered under the act (NICHCY, 2012).


NCLBA provides for education of every child in the United States. It demands flexibility and accountability from the Department of Education as well as support from the federal government. In continuation of the 50 year old decision of Brown v. Board, the act purports to create a system of education that is inclusive and responsive to specific individual needs. Among the many provisions of the act, the NCLBA requires state governments to improve academic achievement of economically challenged students, recruit and train qualified teachers and principals, provide language teaching for multicultural students, ensuring that the local education system can provide for the educational needs of the students and making them accountable, helping all children acquire basic reading and writing skills, and helping children with disabilities. The act extends the provisions of IDEA insofar as disabilities are concerned, and bases its definition of disability on that described in IDEA (

Existing system of referral, evaluation and certification

Both IDEA and NCLBA provide for education of children with disabilities including learning disabilities. However, the onus of providing the required facilities for education is on the state legislature. Professor Daniel J. Reschly of the Iowa State University says, “Special education classification is not uniform across states or regions”. Although disabilities with clear medical evidence can be easily identified, the identification and diagnosis of learning disabilities is far more difficult. Learning disabilities are most often identified by the class teacher or parents because of poor achievement. Reschly (1996) opines that there is a poor co-relation between the assumptions, categorization, and treatment of learning disabled children. Cultural differences and poverty further confuse the issue. The Standard Operating Procedures Manual: The Referral, Evaluation, and Placement of School-Age Students with Disabilities issued by the Department of Education NYC (NYCDoE, 2009) outlines the procedures for identification, evaluation, and treatment of children with disabilities within New York City. These procedures are also outlined on the website of the New York State Education Department ( A student who is suspected of having a disability must be referred by the school in which he studies. Referrals may also come from the parents of the child. Where the school makes the referral, written consent from the parents must be obtained. A written request for evaluation must be made by the parents, the school authorities, a physician, a judicial officer, or a professional from a welfare, educational, or health agency. A request submitted by an individual other than the student himself, the parents, or a judicial officer must state the reasons for the request. On receipt of the referral, the parents must be notified immediately. In the event the parents wish to withdraw the referral, a written agreement must be obtained and copies of the agreement must be provided to the parents as well as the person making the referral. Once consent has been received or refusal overridden, the initial evaluation must be conducted within 60 days. The overall evaluation must include a physical assessment, a psychological evaluation, the social history of the student, and observation in the learning environment. Learning environment is described as including the school, or age appropriate environment for learning. Other assessments such as a mental, behavioural, and emotional assessment must also be conducted as deemed appropriate. The assessment results must be reviewed by the special education committee and a re-evaluation conducted every 3 years.


"No Child Left Behind". Retrieved 21 March 2012
( Section 200.4 Procedures for referral, evaluation, individualized education program (IEP) development, placement and review Retrieved From
DOE Alaska (2013), Alaska Special Education Handbook – 2013 State Of Alaska Department Of Education & Early Development,
Gargiulo (2011), Special Education in Contemporary Society, 4e - Media Edition: An Introduction to Exceptionality Paperback – Unabridged, August 26, 2011 by Richard M. Gargiulo (Author) 12 customer reviews ISBN-13: 978-1412996952 ISBN-10: 1412996953 Edition: 4th
NICHCY (2012) National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities 1825 Connecticut Avenue N.W. • Washington, DC 20009 NICHCY: 1.800.695.0285 2 Categories of Disability Under IDEA March 2012
Reschly (1996), Identification and Assessment of Students with Disabilities Daniel J. Reschly The Future of Children SPECIAL EDUCATION FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES Vol. 6 • No. 1 – Spring 1996.
Standard Operating Procedures Manual: The Referral, Evaluation, and Placement of School-Age NYCDoE (2009) Students with Disabilities NYC Department of Education Division of Teaching and Learning Dr. Marcia V. Lyles Deputy Chancellor Office of Special Education Initiatives Linda Wernikoff Executive Director February 2009 Retrieved From,d.c2E A Guide to Education and No Child Left Behind U.S. Department of Education Rod Paige Secretary Retrieved From

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