Who are special education students?

The greatest challenge that many children with disabilities face are the myths that they cannot succeed in school. When students with disabilities – even those with severe disabilities – receive appropriate instruction, they grow academically and socially.

Students with disabilities who receive special education instruction and related services vary greatly in their needs and backgrounds.

  • Like all children, they differ from one another in ability, age, learning style, and personality.
  • Students with disabilities come from all cultural backgrounds and may speak languages other than English.
  • They all have unique learning needs based on their disabilities that require a number of special education and related services, such as specially designed instruction, adapted materials, speech-language therapy, or adaptive physical education.
  • Some students with disabilities have cognitive impairments, such as mental retardation, which can range from mild to profound.
  • Others have learning disabilities that require specific teaching strategies, including accommodations and modifications to the general education curriculum.
  • Still other students have physical disabilities that require the use of wheelchairs or other assistive devices.
  • Some students' impairments are sensory, such as hearing loss and vision impairments.
  • Others have emotional conditions.
  • In addition, chronic health problems and multiple disabilities can complicate learning for some.