What is the Special Education System and How Does It Work?

The words “special education” represent a wide umbrella-like term that categorizes children who do not learn like their peers. Depending if they have intellectual difficulties or developmental delays, children with learning disabilities require a different approach to schooling, one that can fit their needs without a problem.

However, this doesn’t necessarily mean just smaller class size or more interaction with a trained teacher. Special needs education encompasses a wide array of different rules, regulations, and instruction that is aimed to help your child succeed. Here we explain more about what exactly fits under the umbrella of special education.

Eligibility for attending a school for special needs

Ratified in 2004, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) categorized 13 different categories of disabilities that make a person eligible for attending special needs education. This act gives funding to early intervention and its target audience are children. According to the IDEA, the 13 categories are:

  • Autism
  • Deafness
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Developmental Delay
  • Mental Retardation
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Hearing Loss
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment Including Blindness
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability, such as ADD
  • Deaf-Blindness
  • Other Health Impairment


The role of the parent
It is crucial for parents to get involved and advocate for their children’s needs. As a parent, you and your child have many rights including:

If you wish it so, your child’s file will stay confidential.

The school must do whatever they can to help you understand everything that is happening with your child, such as hiring an interpreter or breaking down information so it is easily understood.

The right for your child to be tested for a learning disorder. A full 37% of parents of children with learning disabilities day their child’s school doesn’t effectively test for them, which is not beneficial for your child’s development.

If you disagree with the actions taken by your child’s teacher and/or school, you have the right to appeal their decision.

There are many benefits that schools for students with learning disabilities can offer to your family. If you are looking for special needs schools in NJ, do not hesitate to contact our experienced teachers today to learn more. Your child’s success is only steps away!