Special Education in New York

History of Special Education in NY

Around 1960's, children with special needs had a hard time at school. Back in those days, there were hardly any schools for special education in New York. Struggling to cope with the regular students, both in textbook learning and creative learning, their parents usually home-schooled them to save them the trouble. This was because the schools' courses, the teaching style and the learning methods, usually meant for regular students, failed at fulfilling the requirements of children with special needs.

Emergence of Special Schools in NY

Since the beginning of the last few decades, owing to the demands and needs of children with special learning, sensory, social and attention needs, various special schools have been established throughout New York. The emergence of these schools contributed greatly to the literary and social developments of children with special needs, and changed the face of New York special education. There are now more than 50 special schools in NY, which serve to the needs of such children, highlighting a need for diversification of the education system for children regardless of their abilities and disabilities.

Schools for Special Learning Needs

Special education is vastly different from regular learning. One might think what is it that differentiates special schools from the regular ones we are normally accustomed to. In New York, special education includes a change from the usual teaching techniques, usage of more visual and audible media rather than textbooks, and creative approaches to the learning system. These are just a few provisions of the wide array of convenient teaching styles employed by special schools.

Special Features for Essential Learning

According to general specifications of New York special education, two types of classroom programs are most commonly used for children with special needs. These are based on the two most effective education models according to the needs of such children, i.e. the Pull-Out model and Push-in model.

These classrooms follow the Push-In model, i.e. inclusion of special children and regular children together, in the same classroom. This is done by addition of special learning curriculum alongside mainstream education, with different teachers assigned for the task of teaching the respective courses. The main advantage of such classrooms are that special children get to study alongside regular children, without a sense of discrimination between them. It also contributes to the growth of social interaction skills among them.

These classrooms follow the pull-out model, i.e. the child is taught in a separate classroom, along with a small group of children with similar learning needs. The children receive one-to-one attention from the assigned teachers, and get to spend time with children similar to them. The need for self-contained classrooms arises when some children with specific needs are unable to cope in a full inclusion classroom, or have difficulties in learning in inclusion-based classrooms. Most experts consider a self-contained classroom as the best option for such children, as they can freely interact with their comrades who share the same needs, although it has not been scientifically proven to be the better of the two.

Sometimes, if a child studying in an inclusive classroom has problems coping with regular students, he/she might be shifted to a self-contained classroom for uninterrupted learning.

Private Education Privileges

In New York, special education schools are mostly private, independent schools, with their focus exclusively on the development of the learning abilities of children, irrespective of their disabilities. Such schools provide a variety of unique and personalized learning aspects, tailor-made to suit both regular and special needs children. As they are free from the shackles and barriers of traditional school such as public schools, they provide a learning experience without any external interference. Most of the special schools also provide parent-teacher assistance programs, which assist the parents with the progress and monitoring of their children at school, which helps in raising parents' confidence in the handling of their children's special needs.