students raising hand in class

Let's Speak Truth About Special Education

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I recently had the opportunity to be a keynote speaker for the Teach Your Heart Out Conference. I spoke to a room full of teachers, both general and special educators. My biggest goal was to share something impactful with those who were in attendance. It seemed like the perfect chance to share these 3 big truths surrounding special education, IEPs, and inclusion: 

  1. The goal of an IEP is NOT to make a child like all the other children. The goal is to prepare them for future education, employment, and independent living. When both general education and special education teachers approach inclusion for a student through that lens, it changes everything.
  2. Oftentimes, we make inclusion decisions based on emotion instead of data. This isn’t to say that I’m not for maximizing inclusion during the school day. I truly believe that students with special needs benefit greatly from time with general education peers and vice versa. In order to set our students up for success when it comes to inclusion we need to ensure we are putting the proper support in place for them to have a positive inclusion experience. How will we know what support is needed? Let the data drive the decision-making!
  3. Preparation is key to relationship building. The big push right now in education is to build relationships first, and while it’s a good sentiment, when it comes to our students with special needs, this can cause them more anxiety and disappointment in the long run. We first need to be preparing teachers with the technology, sensory items, and whatever else our students need to be successful so they can feel comfortable in a new environment. Prioritizing this will allow relationships to develop naturally as your student has all the tools they need to fully experience a new place with new adults and peers. This prep work can be done by either the special education team and/or the family of the student.

Inclusion is not about making a child conform to the set standards or blend in with their peers. It’s about embracing their individuality and ensuring their success in all areas of life. If you’re a teacher or parent who wants to empower others in your community to shift their perspective on what is possible in Special Education, it’s time to think about becoming a Master IEP Coach®.  

We can do this TOGETHER!

Links Mentioned In This Episode:

Master IEP Coach® Certificate Program

FAST TRACK: Start Your Own IEP Coaching Practice

Download 12 IEP Questions You Need to Ask

Find All the Special Education Inner Circle Podcast Episodes

Teach Your Heart Out Conference