SPED is an acronym that stands for special education.
Special Education refers to services given to students with disabilities through the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, also known as IDEA.
Students in special education require significant modifications in their instructional programs; they may need intensive remediation, smaller-group settings, variations to their workload, a slower-paced curriculum, or other adjustments to suit their skills and limitations as determined by a team of educators and parents working along.
The team develops an IEP, or Individualized Education Program (or Plan), a legal document that spells out exactly what the school will do and what goals are set for the student. Students in special education could be taught in a general classroom with supports, a self-contained classroom, or a special school for students with similar disabilities.
The goal of special education is to address the students’ individual differences and needs. Ideally, this process involves the individually planned and systematically monitored arrangement of teaching procedures, adaptive equipment and materials. It also includes accessible settings, and different interventions designed to assist learners with special needs achieve a higher level of personal self-sufficiency and success in school and community.
Common special needs include challenges with learning, communication challenges, emotional and behavioral differences, physical disabilities, other health impaired (OHI), traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and developmental delays. Students with these types of special needs are likely to benefit from additional educational services like different approaches to teaching, use of technology, a specifically created teaching space, or resource room.
Intellectual giftedness is a difference in learning and will also benefit from specialized teaching techniques or completely different instructional programs, however the term “special education” is usually used to specifically indicate instruction of students whose special needs impede their ability to learn independently or in an general education classroom, and gifted education is handled separately.