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Unlocking the power of inclusion: How parallel support in special education is transforming classrooms

Inclusion in education is a critical component of promoting equal opportunities for all students, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. Parallel support in special education is an approach that encourages students with special needs to learn alongside their typically developing peers in a general education classroom. This inclusive model allows students to benefit from a diverse learning environment, promoting academic growth and social development. In this blog post, we will explore how parallel support in special education can transform classrooms, focusing on collaboration, co-teaching, differentiated instruction, peer relationships, assistive technology, universal design for learning (UDL), and ongoing assessment and monitoring. 

The role of collaboration in parallel support in special education 

Collaboration is at the heart of successful parallel support in special education. Teachers, support staff, therapists and parents must work together to create a supportive and inclusive environment for all students. This collaborative approach ensures that Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) are developed and implemented effectively, meeting the unique needs and abilities of each student.

The key stakeholders involved in collaboration include:

General education teachers: they are responsible for delivering the curriculum and ensuring that all pupils, including those with special needs, can access and participate in learning activities.

Special education teachers: They provide specialized instruction and support for students with special needs, ensuring that their IEP goals are met.

Support staff: Aides, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and other specialists may work with students individually or in small groups to address specific needs and support their academic and social development.

Parents: Parents play a key role in supporting their child's education by providing valuable information about their child's strengths, needs and preferences.

When these stakeholders work together effectively, the benefits are many. Collaboration leads to a more comprehensive understanding of each student's needs, allowing for personalized instruction and support. In addition, collaborative classrooms foster a sense of community and belonging for all students, promoting positive attitudes toward diversity and inclusion. 

When does a child need parallel support?

A child may need parallel support in their educational pathway when they have special needs or disabilities that require additional help or adaptations in order to succeed in the mainstream classroom. Determining when a child needs parallel support involves a comprehensive assessment process that takes into account the child's unique needs, strengths and challenges. Some factors that may indicate the need for parallel support include:

Academic difficulties: If a child is consistently struggling to meet grade-level expectations or make progress in the general education curriculum, he or she may benefit from parallel support to address specific learning needs.

Social or behavioural concerns: Children who experience difficulties with social interactions, communication or exhibit challenging behaviours may need parallel support to develop appropriate social skills and self-regulation strategies.

Recognised disabilities: Children who have been diagnosed with specific disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities or physical disabilities, special educational needs, may require concurrent support to access the general education curriculum and participate fully in the classroom.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP): If a child has been evaluated and determined eligible for special education services, he or she may have an IEP that outlines the necessary accommodations, modifications, and support services needed. Concurrent supports can assist in the effective implementation of these plans in an inclusive environment.

Professional Recommendations: Teachers, school psychologists, therapists, or other professionals involved in a child's education may recommend concurrent supports if they believe it will benefit the student's academic, social, or emotional development.

It is important to note that each child's needs are unique and the decision to implement concurrent support must be made on an individual basis. Collaboration between teachers, parents and specialists is vital in determining the most appropriate and effective support strategies for each child.

Co-teaching strategies for success

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