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Special needs learning, also called special education, addresses the needs of students with physical disabilities, communication and learning challenges, emotional, behavioral and developmental disorders. Students with these special differences benefit from individualized approaches to teaching. They often require a specifically adapted classroom, individualized and specially monitored teaching procedures, accessible settings and/or adapted equipment. With these types of adjustments, students with special needs have been shown to achieve a higher level of success in the community and a higher level of self-sufficiency that they would otherwise be given in a typical classroom, or general education.

A special needs learning education program should address each individualís unique needs. This field of education is called IEP (Individualized Education Plan) in the United States. Teachers in this field provide services in varying subjects and programs to address the studentís unique needs. Individuals with physical or mental disabilities are assessed to determine their strengths and weaknesses to decided placement in a program. Resources and goals are then determined based on the studentís needs. This may mean modifications to a regular program such as supplementary aides or equipment, special classes which will allow students to participate in the classroom to their fullest extent possible. An example may be a student who cannot write may be given the choice to answer questions orally or a computer is provided for assignments. If a student is assessed and cannot participate in a large classroom, they may be placed in a smaller classroom called a ďresource room.Ē

Special needs education is not without controversy in how itís handled, and it varies in different countries around the world. Some students have conditions, such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, ADHD, or obsessive compulsive disorder that is handled with therapy outside the classes and/or medication. In these cases, special needs learning is not always necessary. Parents and advocates sometimes have differing opinions about eligibility criteria and application, but with careful evaluation and communication, the best possible solution for each individual is the goal of all concerned.


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