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Special Education Day

The Special Education Day Committee (SPEDCO) launched Special Education Day in 2005 to honor progress and to celebrate students with disabilities, their teachers, administrators, parents, and schools. They created it as a day for dialogue, to plan for an inclusive future for all students, and to spur systemic reform. It is celebrated on December 2, in honor of the anniversary of the signing of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, the nation's first special education legislation. The first observance marked the 30th anniversary of the legislation's signing, although the legislation was signed on November 29, 1975, not on December 2. In 1990, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act became known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The act provides free appropriate public education and services to all children—including students with disabilities.

Special education is the practice of educating students in a way that accommodates their differences, special needs, and disabilities. Students with disabilities—such as learning disabilities, emotional and behavioral disorders, physical disabilities, and developmental disabilities—may benefit from the use of technology, different approaches to teaching, a specially adapted teaching area, a resource room, and a separate classroom. To this end, as part of their Individualized Education Plan (IEP), students receive individually planned and monitored teaching procedures, adapted equipment and materials, and accessible settings. The interventions are designed to help students with special needs achieve greater self-sufficiency and success in school and their community.

How to Observe Special Education Day

  • Celebrate special education students and their parents.
  • Thank teachers and administrators for their hard work on behalf of special education students.
  • Use the day to start a dialogue about special education, plan for an inclusive future for all students, and spur systemic reform. Utilizing resources such as the Center for Parent Information & Resources, the Council for Exceptional Children, and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services may be helpful.
  • According to the Special Education Day Committee, some ways to take part include hosting a celebration, writing a piece, flying balloons, sponsoring a luncheon, and sharing chocolates.

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