The Evolution of Special Education

Learning is hardly a one-size-fits-all process, and no one understands this better than those involved in providing special education services in K-12 settings. And special ed has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. It wasn’t until Congress passed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975 that special ed programs came to exist in public schools across the U.S.

Today, these programs have worked to meet the needs of the 6.5 million children receiving special education services. These students account for 13 percent of the overall public school population. In order to ensure special ed programs remain agile and evolve with the student body, superintendents, Section 504 coordinators, pupil services directors, assistive technology specialists, and special and general educators need to work collaboratively. This means, keeping a close eye on legislation, maintaining open communication across districts, regularly reviewing and updating policies and staying on top of the latest ed tech innovations.

The integration of ed tech into special ed programs continues to grow, especially as the number of online and virtual schools increases. To maintain compliance with local, state and federal laws and improve instruction, districts will want to learn technology-based best practices for serving and tracking the progress of K-12 students with disabilities. Attendees of the National Future of Education Technology Conference will have the opportunity to dive deep into a brand new track highlighting the latest technology solutions and best practices to enhance learning for special needs students in inclusive settings.

Designed to meet growing demand for solutions that make instruction inclusive and accessible, the inaugural FETC Special Education track will include a series of workshops and breakout sessions that focus on technologies to help students with disabilities meet IEP goals and access “core” state standards. Taking place January 24-27, 2017, this track will explore all facets of using assistive and instructional technology to serve students with disabilities, such as improving collaboration between and among pupil services and technology staff, providing universal access to instruction and state standards, and engaging and including diverse learners on all devices across curricula.

Additional highlights from the FETC Special Education track include:

  • The Future of Special Ed: Promising Practices to Support Students With Disabilities in Online and Blended Settings
  • How to Strategically Select and Use Technology to Help Special Ed Students Access State Standards
  • Keys to Understanding and Implementing Universal Design for Learning
  • How to Engage and Include Diverse Learners Across Curricula

Featured speakers will include:

  • James Basham, Associate Professor at the University of Kansas and Cofounder of the UDL Implementation and Research Network;
  • Luis Perez, Inclusive Learning Evangelist;
  • Mary Schillinger, Consultant and Former Deputy Superintendent, Las Virgenes (Calif.) Unified Sch. Dist.;
  • And Karen Haase, Attorney, KSB School Law, PC, Lincoln, Neb.

Visit agenda for more information about the FETC Special Education track.

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