Special Education: Getting Rid Of The Stigma

891 words - 4 pages

Not many people who are not already involved with special education understand what exactly a student in a special education program does. Most people assume special education is for only the worst cases, such as autism or Down syndrome or that the students are completely different from any other student. However, this assumption is not the case. These assumptions only show some of the stigma against special education. Special education is the term used to “describe specially designed instruction that meets the unique needs of a child who has a disability,” (Hancock). As predetermined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), one qualifies for special education if they meet one or more of the thirteen disabilities included in the act. These disabilities include, but are not limited to, autism, hearing impairment, specific learning disability, visual impairment, and emotional disturbance. The IDEA act requires the public schools to provide a “free appropriate education”, or FAPE, to those who qualify. An example of a free appropriate program is “modifications in the educational program, such as curriculum and teaching methods,” (Hancock).
In the 2009-2010 school year, 13.1% of the U.S. student population was in some form of special education. That data tells us that a little more than every one in ten students is in special education. This percentage is a huge jump up from the 8.3% of students in special education programs in the 1976-1977 school year (National Center). One would be right to assume the percentage has only risen since three years ago, when the percentage was calculated. Obviously, special education is a big deal.
Did you know disabled children are more likely to be bullied than children who aren't disabled? In fact, sixty percent of disabled students said they were being bullied on a regular basis. Compared to the twenty five percent of students who were not disabled who reported bullying, this statistic shows a great deal in the correlation of bullying and special education (“Bullying and”).
What exactly is bullying? According to “Bullying Definition”, bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Bullying must be repeated or has the potential to be repeated in order to be bullying. Three types of bullying exist. These types are verbal, social, and physical bullying. Verbal bullying is when mean things are said or written to another person. Social bullying is when someone hurts another person's reputation. Physical bullying is when someone hurts another person's body or belongings (“Bullying Definition”). Bullying can happen anywhere at any time. Cyberbullying is bullying which occurs on...

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