These service providers are making the necessary impact on children, adults, and their families, and are a substantial part of Special Education Day awareness.
What is National Special Education Day
December 2nd is Special Education Day, #SpecialEducationDay, commemorating the signing of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It became the Federal Special Education Law on December 2, 1975, by President Gerald Ford.
It was a formal pledge to students and their families, paving the way for learning resources and specifically trained educators and service providers. IDEA was the country’s first official law addressing special education in public school systems.
This legislation became the foundation for progressive special education services. It has helped to further the awareness and expand legislation and funding supporting public schools to fulfill the needs of those requiring additional resources to achieve both cognitive academic and physical functional abilities.
It was an impactfully beneficial idea, providing children with learning disabilities access to quality ability-appropriate education, and support resources from Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) service providers, and Occupational Therapy (OT) professionals.
What Encompasses Special Education IDD and OT Therapy
Eight million people in the United States have Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD), affecting 1 in 10 families. 425,000 children and young adults ages 3-21 have a level of intellectual disability and receive special education services in public schools under IDEA.
It’s important that K-12 students with intellectual disabilities be involved in the public education curriculum provided for all students. IDEA does not allow a student to be removed from education in age-appropriate general education classrooms, even though they need modifications to be made in the curriculum for them to succeed.
A child with an intellectual disability can do well in school with the special education resources available to them. Though they’ll likely excel significantly more with supplementary off-campus IDD and OT services supplying individualized help beneficial to their specific needs. Private practices and nonprofit providers are in most geographic areas, helping customers and their families.
Supplementary aids and services including ID-trained personnel, modified instruction, and equipment, all provide a constructive learning environment, encompassing their Individualized Education Program (IEP).
IDD and OT programs can begin helping a child early in life through intervention programs. These providers serve special education customers, elevating their ability to lead meaningful and enjoyable lives in their communities. Therapists and their support teams supply hands-on treatments, daily living services, employment and housing assistance, and medication administration. They also assist with foster care placement as needed.
For students outside the classroom, and for adults, IDD therapists offer life skills and vocational training, providing Individualized Family Services Planning (IFSP), based on the customer’s disability and needs. These include services encompassing:
- Counseling to treat behavioral health complications, including anxiety, depression, psychotic disorders, often accompanying autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, dyslexia, and other IDD challenges.
- Psychotherapeutic programs focus on basic life skills, to set and achieve life goals to guide them toward obtaining independence.
- Residential homes, day rehabilitation programs, and workshops help individuals obtain housing and jobs, and provide a connection with community members.
OTs also provide services focusing on social and vocational skills training, independent living skills, and community mobility and integration. Typically administered on an outpatient basis, it delivers help with specific physical activities people engage in daily life. The occupation of living a human life.
The focus is on both physical capabilities and improved mental health, tuning fine motor skills through physical rehabilitation. OTs can also help the person find coping strategies that help with behavioral and mental health issues.
Ways for IDD and OT Professionals to Recognize Special Education Day
Expanding awareness and celebrating the lives and efforts of special education individuals, their families, counselors, and therapists is what #SpecialEducationDay is all about. With the increase in resources and customer success, the need remains to reach even more people, helping them to live enjoyable and productive lives.
IDD and OT professionals can get involved by:
- Using their practice’s website and social media to promote the awareness campaign and include information on the services they supply to educate families and referral partners in their communities.
- Contact local school’s special education staff; relaying opportunities to partner with them to supplement services their students and their families need.
- Host an open house for parents of special needs children to meet staff and learn more about available services.
With the increasing demand for IDD and OT assistance, providers need an automated operations platform, one that’s created and configured for the way their practices work. Manual or multisystem process management is costly, time-consuming, detract from customer care, and leads to professional burnout.
Electronic Health Record platforms (EHR) help care run smoothly by connecting practices to a comprehensive solution that streamlines workflows, documents services, and expedites accurate billing.