Three Myths of Special Education Debunked


Myth #1 – Every child who struggles is guaranteed Special Education services.


As outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a student must meet two criteria to qualify for Special Education services. First, he/she must be diagnosed as having one of thirteen disabilities, and second, the school must determine that the student requires special education services in order to access the general education curriculum. If the student meets both criteria, an Individualized Education Program {IEP} will be developed.


Prior to initiating a Special Education referral, teachers and parents should ensure students have received school-based interventions for a period of time. If a student is not showing progress with these supports, a referral is warranted.


The thirteen categories of disability are as follows:

  • Autism
  • Deaf-Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Other Health Impairment {including ADHD}
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment {including blindness}


Myth #2 – Having an IEP means your child will be placed in a special education classroom.


The goal of special education is to place the student in their least restrictive environment. In other words, students should spend as much time as possible in the general education classroom.


Currently, Riverhead Charter School offers two academic programs – Resource Room or Integrated C0-Teaching {ICT}. Our Resource Room is a pull-out program in which students are removed from the general education classroom for forty minutes per day and taught by a Special Education teacher in a group of no more than five students. In our ICT setting, students receive the support of a Special Education teacher throughout all core subjects. Integrated Co-Teaching is more restrictive than Resource Room in that it provides Special Education support throughout the majority of the school day.


Myth #3 – Once classified, your child will always remain a special education student.


At a certain point in their educational career, a student may no longer require Special Education services to be successful in the general education classroom. When this is the case, the student no longer meets criteria as a student with a disability and will be declassified from Special Education. If the disability persists, classroom and testing accommodations may be available through a Section 504 Accommodation Plan.
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