Are Online Teacher Certifications Honored in All States?

Reciprocity agreements make it easy for teachers to convert their certificate to an analogous

teaching certificate in another state. In other words, thanks to regional and national reciprocity

agreements, an online teacher certification may open the door to teaching opportunities


A few things to keep in mind about teacher certification reciprocity:

● Reciprocity is not automatic and will require you to contact the department of education

in the state you wish to teach to determine what criteria is required to complete the.


● Reciprocity is not a guarantee that all certificates will be accepted by a receiving state,

so wait until you receive confirmation of certificate transfer before making plans to move

● Reciprocity is not always a full license or certificate transfer, which means educators

may need to complete additional requirements such as coursework or assessments

before receiving a full professional certificate by the receiving state

NASDTEC Interstate Agreement

One of the largest reciprocity agreements in the country is the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement,

a collection of over 50 individual agreements by states and Canadian provinces. Each individual

agreement that makes up the larger NASDTEC Interstate Agreement outlines which states will

accept which educator certificates from other states.

The minimum components of an “approved educator preparation program” under the NASDTEC

Interstate Agreement are the completion of a Bachelor’s degree, supervised clinical practice and

a planned program of study.

The Interstate Agreement also defines teacher licensure in “stages” to help create a common

language for member states and jurisdictions regarding reciprocity requirements.

Stages of teacher licensure under the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement are described below:

● Stage 1 Teacher License – License issued to an individual who holds a minimum of a.

Bachelor’s degree, has met approved teacher preparation program admission

requirements but has not met specific requirements of the issuing state or jurisdiction.

● Stage 2 Teacher License – License issued to an individual who holds a minimum of a.

Bachelor’s degree, has completed an approved teacher preparation program, but has

not met specific requirements of the issuing state or jurisdiction.

● Stage 3 Teacher License – License issued to an individual who holds a minimum of a.

Bachelor’s degree, has completed an approved teacher preparation program, and has

met all specific requirements of the issuing state or jurisdiction.

● Stage 4 Teacher License – License issued to an individual who holds a minimum of a.

Master’s degree, has completed an approved teacher preparation program, and has met

or exceeded all specific requirements of the issuing state or jurisdiction.

Regional Reciprocity Agreements

In addition to the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, there are also several smaller regional

reciprocity agreements between neighboring states to address teacher mobility and interstate

licensing requirements.

The Northeast Common Market, for example, is comprised of eight states in the northeastern

U.S. — Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode

Island and Vermont — that allows teachers with an initial license in one state to teach in another

state for up to two years before meeting the latter state’s licensing requirements.

Another formal regional reciprocity agreement is the Midwest Regional Exchange, which

includes Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and


Learn More About Teaching Certificate Reciprocity

Refer to this page on teaching certificate state reciprocity requirements to find the transfer

policies for the state(s) you wish to teach in. If you have not earned state certification, the Online

Accelerated Teacher Certification (OATCERT) program from Saint Joseph’s University will help

you achieve your Pennsylvania Level 1 Secondary Instructional and Educational Specialist

Certification that can be converted to another state’s teaching license if you plan to move in the future.

Request more information on the OATCERT program or call 866-758-7670 to learn more.

5 Ways to Support Teacher Professional Learning

Learn, Learn, Learn

Part of being a professional is staying up-to-date on a research based practices. This is true for any profession, especially educators. As a school administrator, I try to provide as many professional learning opportunities for my staff as possible. By providing them many different avenues to access professional learning, I increase the likelihood that I can provide a type of professional learning that works best for the individual. Here are my top five go-to-resources to support teacher professional learning.

1. Buy Them Books
This may seem like hey no-brainer, but I will often buy my staff books to stimulate professional learning. Frequently I have conversations with staff and I recommend books for them to read to increase their understanding about various topics. Instead of lending my own books, I offer to purchase them their own book on the topic that they would like to learn about. This sends a message that I support their own professional learning and that I value it. I have found that many of my teachers are avid readers and prefer the ability to go through a text at their own pace to digest their professional learning.

2. Give Up Faculty Meetings
The second thing I do to stimulate professional learning among my staff is I refrain from conducting unnecessary faculty meetings. Instead, I still hold the meeting but allow my staff to choose an activity rooted in professional learning. This can be anything from assessment Google classroom to project-based learning. They no longer complain about coming into work early, because the meeting agenda is there’s to set. Giving staff that little bit of control does wonders to support their professional learning.

3. Visit Schools
Teachers love to steal ideas from other good teachers, so allowing my own staff to visit other public and private schools is something that my school staff enjoys. To start, I reach out to my own contacts at other schools or I will allow my teachers to use their own connections to determine which schools we will visit. Often the schools we visit will be using a particular program or curriculum that our teachers want to see in action. These visits will occur two or three times each year. After the visit a debriefing session is held with school administrators to determine what was learned and how this new knowledge will impact our own school. I have found that this activity is extremely beneficial for new teachers and for older teachers who may be stuck in a rut of doing things in only one way.

4. Conduct Surveys
Survey data is a great way to stimulate professional learning among your staff, especially if a weak area is identified. In our school district, surveys are required every year, however they do not provide good data because they’re not open-ended. I encourage my staff to provide informal open-ended surveys each year so that students and parents can contribute ideas that will make them better educators. These surveys serve as a catalyst for identifying areas that my staff can focus professional learning on.

5. Video Record Classroom Practices
The last way I stimulate professional learning with my staff is through video recording their classroom practices. We set a date and time for the video recording and then as a team, we sit down and analyze the video together. We identify strengths and weaknesses and then determine actionable goals that we can create to improve performance. This is a great professional learning tool for advanced teachers who are looking to take their instruction to the next level.

Supporting a Growth Mindset

No matter what method you use to stimulate professional learning with your staff, the most important thing is to stimulate a growth mindset that emphasizes the importance of being a continuous learner. No matter how experienced a staff member is, research continues to be conducted and new teaching strategies continue to be implemented. To keep your staff on the the cutting edge, provide a variety of professional learning activities that can meet the needs of everyone, no matter their learning style or preference.

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Special Education: Putting You on the Right Path

Special Education – The Right Choice

When pursuing a teaching degree, many college students are faced with the decision to major in elementary education, secondary education with a curricular emphasis, or work with special education students. Making this decision is no easy task, however as a school administrator, let me make a case for why more teachers could benefit from a special education background.

Special Education – A Mother’s Influence

Before I begin telling you about why a special education background could be crucial to a budding career in education, let me tell you about my own special education background. My mother was a special educator for many years in our local school district. While growing up, my mother provided me with countless opportunities to try to understand and work with this often misunderstood sub-group of students within our school systems. While pursuing a teaching degree, I had the opportunity to work in a variety of special education positions that gave me a wealth of knowledge about special education programs, its students, and strategies for working with special education students. As a school administrator, this personal experience has been invaluable to me as I run a school whose special education population accounts for almost 20% of our total student enrollment.

Special Education Develops Patience

The day that anyone decides to go into the education field is the day that they declare to the universe their need for an extra helping of patience. Have you ever had someone continuously make an annoying noise that you can hear? Have you ever had a young child swear at you? Have you ever taught something over and over, yet it remains unlearned by the pupil? These are all situations that occur generally in education, but in special education classrooms, they occur with much greater frequency. When I interview potential teaching candidates, I ask them which character trait is most important for a teacher to possess and more often than not, they respond in the same way — patience. Special education refines your patience to the point that you are able to achieve a zen-like calm regardless of any environmental disturbances.

Special Education Makes You Data Driven

Special education teachers write individualized education plans for their students that detail how a special education student is currently able to perform on specific academic tasks, a plan to improve their academic performance that details specific goals, and lists specific accommodations that the student needs to successfully perform in the classroom. This level of specificity regarding the needs of one student is unparalleled in education, yet all of our students should receive this same degree of analysis. Special education teaches you to plan for your students with this level of specificity that ultimately teaches you how to be organized and data driven in the classroom.

Special Education Teaches Sympathy

Special education is full of opportunities to sympathize with students who are struggling and with parents that are at their wits end. Just like no-one likes a doctor with poor bed-side manner, no-one likes a teacher who becomes jaded to the problems their students experience. Special education teaches educators to be compassionate and caring individuals. As a school administrator, I extremely value my employees that can provide this personal, sympathetic touch that is so sorely needed in education.

Special Education Makes You a Behavior Expert

Behavior management is a crucial skill that all educators must develop and become successful at, otherwise it could spell disaster in the classroom. Special education students can exhibit a wide-variety of behaviors depending on the disabilities they have. This broad exposure to varying behaviors will help educators focus in on the function of the behavior and how best to handle it within the classroom.

Conclusion: Special Education Provides the Right Foundation

Although special education teachers are often cited for having high turnover rates in the education field, I argue that special education is a great place for budding educators to start their careers. It affords people the opportunity to hone and develop so many skills that are essential to be an effective educator. As an administrator I have solved problems, avoided conflict, and helped students learn all because of my special education knowledge. If you’re on the road to a career in education, special education will put you on the right path.

Parent Teacher Communication Ideas

We always hear how important parent teacher communication is, and it is true.  Most parents want to be involved in their child’s education.  They want to know what is happening in the classroom, how their child is progressing in the curriculum and with the standards, how their child is getting along with others in the class, and what they can do at home to help them.  Teachers not only want, but need parents to be involved and to maintain open communication.  But .  What needs to be said?  When is the right time to reach out to parents?

Contacting parents before school starts or just as school is starting sets the tone for positive communication and establishes the importance of communication.  Relationships are built through communication.  When the initial communication between teachers and parents is positive, parents tend to be supportive and have a positive outlook.  Later during the year, if there is a problem with a student’s behavior or an academic concern, parents who had an initial positive experience are more likely to continue to be supportive.  It may seem daunting having dozens of families to reach out to, but this initial contact may be brief.  It may be a phone call, an email, or even a postcard in the mail to introduce yourself to the new families. Students also benefit from this early communication as it sends a message the teacher is excited to have them in their class.

Communication Benefits for Parents

There are benefits to parents who have frequent feedback and communication from the classroom teacher.  Parents gain a better understanding of the school curriculum and communicate better with their children.  When there is a partnership between parents and the school, parents feel they are valuable to their children’s education.  In turn, this can set higher expectations for their child.

Communication Benefits for Teachers

Teachers gain more insight about their students when communicating with families.  Parents know their child best and can share vital information. The teacher can also gain insight into how the parent approaches education and what kind of support the student is getting at home.  This allows the teacher to meet the student’s needs academically, socially, and emotionally in the classroom.

Communication Benefits for Students

Studies show there are many benefits to students when there is communication between parents and teachers.  Some of the benefits include increased motivation for learning, regular attendance, improved behavior, and an overall positive attitude towards school and learning.

Communication Action Steps

  • Teachers have to find ways to make communication with parents effective. Find out what types of communication families prefer.  Do they prefer paper, phone calls, or electronic communication? Can meetings be held via Skype?
  • Inform parents of how you want them to communicate: phone, email, or notes. Let them know times of availability for calls or to return emails.
  • Make sure to communicate everything, not just the “bad”. A quick phone call to parents when their child did something fantastic, had a gain in learning, or met an IEP goal is a phone call that will be well received by parents.

Teachers can become so overwhelmed with the amount of work to be done day in and day out that it can be challenging to take extra time to form relationships and communicate.  Scheduling communication may be helpful and spreading it out may be even more helpful.  Instead of trying to reach out to every family in one week, try scheduling five families each week of the month so that each family hears from you once a month. Set your calendar with which families are due to hear from you.  Keep in mind how each family prefers to communicate. Remembering the benefits to all involved should help keep communication as a priority.

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Inclusion Strategies for Special Education Teachers

Inclusion programs are a hot topic in special education these days. These programs allow students with special needs to learn in classrooms alongside mainstream students. Research from the National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) reports that inclusive programming helps students with disabilities become more successful both socially and academically. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 6.5 million students receive special education services, about 13 percent of total enrollment. Students receiving those services have learning, developmental and/or physical disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cerebral palsy and Down syndrome.

Training Holds the Key

A special education teacher who receives specialized training is better prepared to meet the needs of exceptional students within an inclusion classroom. Many collegiate institutions offer certification programs, bachelor’s and master’s degrees for special education jobs. These programs, such as the one at Perdue University, provide instruction on the most innovative techniques to effectively overcome different learning challenges. 

Teachers may choose specific areas of concentration such as: learning how to best accommodate children on the autism spectrum; effective ways to work with students who have visual and hearing impairments (which is among the specializations taught at Saint Joseph’s University); or how to alter teaching methods to instruct culturally and linguistically diverse learners within an inclusive setting (taught at George Washington University, for example).

Programs for special education teachers also demonstrate how to develop individualized education programs (IEP) for exceptional students. The IEP contains goals for a student, customized to the student’s individual needs and abilities. In addition, special education teachers working in inclusive classrooms assist students in the area of emotional development, helping them learn to feel comfortable in a variety of social situations.

7 Top Tips for Inclusion Classroom Success

Classrooms in which students of all abilities work side-by-side can provide a positive and supportive setting for students with learning challenges. An influential study, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals and shared by NASET in 2009, was strongly in favor of inclusion, reporting that inclusive classrooms are also beneficial for mainstream students by teaching them to develop empathy and improving their social skills.

Last year, however, Education Week reported on a newer study that found some negative effects on non-disabled and neurotypical students resulting from the practice. Even the study’s author suggested more research is required, adding: “The point is, here is a situation that we have and what systems of supports can improve outcomes for everyone?”

Special education teachers must balance the needs of all their students. Those who successfully integrate their special needs students into a traditional classroom utilize specific strategies to make it all work. Here are seven great tips for inclusion classroom success:

1. Organize: Clear clutter, stabilize furniture, secure any loose cables with tape and ensure there is plenty of space for students to safely move around the room. Post clear signage with symbols that point out exits in case of emergencies.

2. Grouping: Arrange student desks into groups of two to four desks to foster discussion and encourage cooperative learning.

3. Classroom decor: Decorate the classroom in neutral tones. Avoid bright, flashy colors as these can be distracting to some students or lead to sensory overload.

4. Home base: Occasionally the social and emotional challenges of a mainstream classroom may overwhelm a special needs student. Provide a safe space where students can go to reduce stress and regain control of themselves.

5. Transition time: Transition times can be particularly difficult for students with social or emotional challenges, leading to behaviors that may disrupt the entire class. Plan ahead and create a consistent routine for transitioning students from one activity to the next. 

6. Teamwork: Help ensure the success of your inclusive classroom by maintaining regular communication with all members of the instructional planning team. Team members may include parents, paraprofessionals, support staff and other specialists.

7. Break it down: Break down instruction into smaller tasks, starting simple and working your way into the more complex concepts, using a step-by-step approach that incorporates a lot of repetition and practice. 

Preparing Exceptional Students for the Real World

Working in an inclusive classroom setting with students of widely varying abilities may seem challenging, but the right education and training can help educators create a positive and effective learning environment, successfully meeting the needs of all their students. An inclusive learning environments ultimately allow students of all abilities to develop friendships and experience success that will prepare them to enter the world beyond the classroom.

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Choosing the Best Homeschool Model for Your Child

As homeschooling has increased in popularity, various styles of homeschooling have emerged. Seven approaches, among many, stand out as the common choices for homeschool families.


School-at-home is basically what the title suggests – setting up a typical school schedule but doing it at home. The day is structured into blocks of time for subject areas, just as a school day would be. The parent becomes the teacher. Subject areas are taught independently of one another. Curriculum can be varied but is oftentimes bought in complete sets through companies like ABeka, Alpha Omega, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. These sets often come with teacher’s guides, student books, and pre-made lesson plans to walk a parent and child through the curriculum. Curriculum samples can be browsed online or entire sets viewed at curriculum fairs and conventions.

Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason, a 19th century English educator, introduced The Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling which focuses on the  whole child. . This method breaks education down into 3 components: atmosphere, discipline and life. Atmosphere is the environment your child is raised in and the idea that a child will pick up things as they listen and experience the world around them. The second part of education is discipline. Discipline is creating good habits for your child. These habits include teaching daily living skills, but also the importance of teaching good character habits like being helpful. Finally, life moves beyond information to experiential learning and using real world examples. . Students learn through play, nature walks, short lessons, and learning from living books.


Unschooling, founded by John Holt, is student focused. It is called unschooling because it does not resemble school. The child directs the learning. Curriculum is not used. This approach focuses on the idea that students learn as they live. A child will learn math and science in the same way they learned to walk or talk – naturally. The focus is whatever interests the child and piques their curiosity.


Classical learning focuses on the Trivium: grammar, logic and rhetoric. The younger grades focus on concrete thinking and learning facts (grammar) that will be the foundation to be built upon in later years. The middle grades focus on the logic phase. This phase is where students take the facts they have learned and now reason and think critically about those facts. The final stage, for the high school years, is rhetoric. Rhetoric moves to a more abstract way of thinking. Students now apply what they have learned to life, learn to communicate and speak eloquently, write original works and even do apprenticeship programs. A curriculum that uses this approach is Classical Conversations.

Distance Learning

Distance learning uses technology to bring the classroom to home. Lectures, lessons, and testing are completed via the internet. Students can choose to take individual classes or sign up full time. Curriculum is aligned with state standards and overseen or taught by certified teachers. In high school, students can take college classes as well for credit via online distance learning programs. Examples of some distance learning programs are: Liberty, FLVS, and Taylor University.

Unit Studies

Homeschoolers that take a unit studies approach to learning focus all the curriculum around a topic. This thematic approach to learning takes topics and creates math, language, social studies, science, art, music, etc. lessons all around that specific theme. This method is more common for elementary and middle school age students. For example, if the unit is dinosaurs, curriculum may be organized in this way:

-spelling: words would be dinosaur names and terminology

-language: reading books on dinosaurs

-math: measurement of dinosaurs and converting those measurements

-social studies: focus on archaeology

-science: what causes extinction

-art: making a paper mache dinosaur

The main focus of unit studies is to immerse the child in a topic, creating an interest and rounded understanding of an area. Unit studies can be found at,, and


Eclectic homeschooling is a mixture of what works for each child and may include some or all of the other homeschool approaches. Parents create a curriculum that will look different from one child to the next and even may look different for the same child from one year to the next. Curriculum is matched to how the child learns best. School work may be combined with field trips or hobbies. A list of homeschool curriculum options can be found at


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How Blended is My Classroom?

What is Blended Learning?

Blended Learning is a buzzword in education nowadays as technology has steadily crept more and more into every facet or our lives — including our schools. Blended Learning occurs when a student learns partially online, within a brick and mortar building, and along an individualized learning pathway ( It’s no surprise that the desire for personalized and convenient learning pathways has lead the education sector to embrace a new way of providing instruction to match the needs of its learners.

Blended Learning Classrooms — The New Norm

Blended Learning has long been around in higher education and judging by the number of online degrees that have been recently awarded across the United States — it’s safe to say that it’s here to stay. However, educators in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools, are left questioning, “How Blended is My Classroom?” Educators in these areas must determine if changes are occurring in their classrooms to meet the needs of today’s learners. Determining how successfully they have “blended” their learning environment and where they can make improvements is crucial to any learning institution’s success.

How “Blended” Am I?

If you’re looking for a way to determine areas for improvement to your blended classroom initiative, look no further. Take a moment to study the vertical alignment of an educator’s journey on the road to a blended learning classroom. Then, your next bet is to make some measurable goals to get you headed on your way.

Traditional Instruction or Non-Blended Learning Instruction

⬥ Teachers infrequently allow students to learn faster or slower than the teacher. All students get the same homework.
⬥ Teachers infrequently plan differentiated activities for students that address personal interests, learning styles, or abilities.
⬥ Teachers tell students where to work in the classroom and infrequently provide access to online resources so students can learn outside the classroom.
⬥ Teachers teach before they assess students and find out what they know or let students explore concepts on their own.

Beginning to Blend Instruction

⬥ Teachers occasionally opt students out of work based on assessment data and they conduct stations or centers.
⬥ Teachers administer surveys to gain information and plan activities that address different learning modalities. Teachers allow students to occasionally choose how to demonstrate their understanding.
⬥ Teachers allow students to work in different places within the classroom and they post assignments online occasionally.
⬥ Teachers assess students, collect data, and teach mini-lessons to students occasionally.

Moderately Blending Instruction

⬥ Teachers do not provide whole-class instruction or non-differentiated homework. Students frequently participate in centers where they move about the classroom by choice.
⬥ Teachers prepare a variety of differentiated tasks based on student information. Students complete curriculum and personal interest projects with the help of rubrics and choice boards.
⬥ Teachers occasionally use a learning management system (LMS) to allow students to access curriculum content anywhere in the classroom or even outside of school.
⬥ Teachers assess students, collect data, and teach mini-lessons to students frequently. Students frequently monitor their own learning.

Heavily Blending Instruction

⬥ Students frequently work with differentiated playlists and are able to choose which tasks they work on and how long they spend on each task.
⬥ Students frequently conference with a teacher to determine which activities will best help them learn and how they will demonstrate their understanding.
⬥ Students frequently use a LMS to access the curriculum and occasionally complete work in a non-homeroom teacher’s classroom.
⬥ Students make learning goals and are systematically monitoring which learning objectives they have mastered.

Fully-Blended Classroom

⬥ Students explore concepts before any teacher instruction (mini-lessons) in grade-level and non-grade-level content areas.
⬥ Students can choose independently how to learn (by themselves, with a peer, or from the teacher) and demonstrate their understanding based on their personal interests, learning styles, or abilities.
⬥ Students frequently work in any grade-level classroom and can access all coursework online.
⬥ Students frequently make learning goals, collect data regarding the learning objectives that they have mastered, and conference with the teacher about their progress.

Conclusion: Blended Learning Takes Patience

After you you are sufficiently overwhelmed from self-assessing how “blended” you really are, just remember that elephants must be eaten one bite at a time and the same could be said for Blended Learning classrooms. No matter where you’re at with your Blended Learning knowledge or implemented strategies, know that it can take upwards of 2-3 years to fully transform your classroom to provide the individualized instruction that learners are craving — and that’s if your community is ready for it! The best advice I can give you is think big, start small, and go slow.

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What are the different types of Special Education?

Over 6.7 million students are currently receiving some form of special education.

If you’re thinking of teaching children with a learning disability or other special needs, then it’s important to understand just how broad the category of “special education” actually is.

In this post, we’ll quickly introduce you to the thirteen types of special education. This way, you can decide which areas you’d like to focus on as you continue on the path toward becoming a special education professional.

1. Deaf-blindness

This refers to a student that has difficulties when it comes to both hearing and seeing what’s being said and shown to them.

They may not be completely deaf or blind, but the combination of the two of these issues makes it harder for them to learn at the rate of their peers.

In some cases, they have struggled so much that a school dedicated specifically to only the deaf or only the blind did not have the resources to help them.

2. Hearing Impairment

A student with a hearing impairment may not be completely deaf, but they are hard of hearing. In some cases, they may be deaf in one ear or deal with a hearing loss that changes and progresses with time.

In short, it’s any loss or change in hearing that isn’t defined as deafness.

3. Deafness

A deaf child has many specific needs in the classroom.

You may need to learn ASL, understand how to operate a hearing aid system, and find other ways to communicate with deaf students.

4. Specific Learning Disability

A child with a specific learning disability, or SLD, has been diagnosed with a processing or learning issue.

They may have a single learning disability, or they may have more than one. This can make it hard for the child to read, communicate, write, understand math, and more.

Specific Learning Disabilities can include an auditory processing disorder, Dyslexia, a nonverbal learning disability, or Dysgraphia.

5. Autism

There are over 3.5 million Americans currently living on the Autism spectrum.

Autism means that a child may have difficulty expressing or controlling their emotions, have trouble with communication, and even struggle to make friends.

They may also make repetitive movements, fixate on ideas, and become extremely sensitive to their sensory surroundings (like light or sound.)

6. Other Health Impairment

This is a bit of an “umbrella term” when it comes to the types of special education available to learners today.

This can refer to conditions and illnesses that impact a child’s strength, ability to focus or stay awake, and more.

For example, ADHD falls under the category of “Other Health Impairment.

7. Visual Impairment/Blindness

There are nearly 63,000 students who are either blind or dealing with another more severe visual impairment.

Be aware that a child who wears glasses will not fall under the category of Visual Impairment.

A student may require special accommodations, need help learning braille, or even need a guide around their school.

8. Speech or Language Impairment

This is another blanket term in the world of special education. This means that a child has issues with speaking or communication.

They may not speak the language of instruction, they may stutter, and they may have some sort of a voice impairment that prevents them from speaking.

9. Emotional Disturbance

A student with an emotional disturbance deals with moderate to severe mental health issues.

In some cases, they have been diagnosed with a more severe mood disorder, like Bipolar Disorder or even Borderline Personality Disorder. They may also have schizophrenia, extreme anxiety, or even obsessive-compulsive disorder.

They may become angry, mean, or violent, or they may withdraw and isolate themselves to the extreme.

10. Traumatic Brain Injury

This type of special education refers to a student that has suffered from a brain injury that has impacted their physical and/or emotional/learning development.

Usually, this happened because of an accident. In some cases, however, the brain injury could have been sustained because of abuse.

11. Intellectual Disability

This refers to children that don’t simply have a learning disability but have an intellectual ability that is well below average for their age range.

For example, the student may have Down Syndrome.

In some cases, this lower intellectual level can make it hard for the student to take care of themselves. It could also impact their overall social life, and make it tough for them to communicate their needs and feelings.

12. Multiple Disabilities

In some cases, children will have more than one of the disabilities on this list.

This means that parents may need to look into more specialized programs to ensure that their students get the education support they need.

13. Orthopedic Impairment

Students with an orthopedic impairment deal with situations that make it difficult for them to move as easily as children without some sort of disability can.

They may be in a wheelchair, be missing a limb, need a walker, or have a limp or another issue that makes it harder for them to move. In some cases, they may be unable to write or fully turn their heads to read.

The 13 Types of Special Education: Wrapping Up

We hope that this brief overview of the 13 types of special education has helped you to narrow down your specifications when it comes to what you want to concentrate on.

Remember that special education, though challenging, is one of the most rewarding professions to get into.

If you’re ready to jump start your career, let us help you learn how to make a difference in the lives of your future students.

Co-Teaching Partnership

Co-Teaching PartnershipCo-Teaching as a Partnership

Every classroom has a teacher and students.  But what about classrooms that have other adults as well?  Who are these people? Co-Teaching with another adult can add a unique element to the classroom setting. If teachers are in a special education classroom, it is very common to have an instructional assistant or paraprofessional.  Many larger general education classes have these type of assistants as well. In some classrooms, teachers may have a sign language interpreter for a student who is deaf and uses manual communication.

Instructional Assistants in Co-Teaching

An instructional assistant’s primary role in the special education classroom or general education classroom is to assist the classroom teacher with all areas of the classroom. The assistant is a crucial extra pair of hands, eyes, ears and voice. This may include preparing materials, assisting with behavior management, working with small groups, or working one on one with students. 

The teacher is responsible for presenting new material and instruction, as well as responsible for student learning, growth, and gains. Instructional assistants cannot provide initial instruction of a concept or skill.   However, the instructional assistant can provide support after the initial instruction is provided.  For students having a hard time understanding concepts, the instructional assistant can provide further explanations, break down, and expand on those concepts.

When the instructional assistant is in a special education classroom working with one teacher and set of students all day, it is easier to build a partnership.  Both the teacher and the assistant know the routines and the expectations.  If the instructional assistant is providing supports in the general education classrooms, it may only be for a certain amount of time each day.  It is important to keep lines of communication open.  Expectations should be established from day one because each teacher runs their classroom uniquely and assistants may have to adjust to multiple teaching styles and classroom environments.

Interpreters in Co-Teaching

An interpreter is provided to a student who is deaf and uses manual communication, whether American Sign Language, Signed English, or Conceptually Accurate Signed English (a combination of American Sign Language and Signed English).  The interpreter’s primary role is communication.  They become the ears and voice for the student they are working with.  The interpreter will not assist the teacher in any fashion.  They will not work with other students in small groups or for one on one learning.  They will not assist with classroom management or behaviors.

However, the interpreter will provide access to spoken language and environmental sounds.  If the phone rings, an airplane flies overhead, there’s a knock on the door, the fire alarm sounds, the interpreter will communicate this information.  Obviously, during teacher instruction, the interpreter will provide the information.  But they will also provide the information being spoken by other students, or between the teacher and another adult in the classroom.  If the student has a question or want to contribute to the discussion, this is done through the interpreter.  The interpreter, like an instructional assistant, can provide support of instruction already provided if the student is having a hard time grasping the concept. 

While the roles of an instructional assistant and an interpreter differ, Co-Teaching can take some time to get used to.  Teachers should keep lines of communication open, be clear on expectations, and be flexible.  Developing a partnership with other adults in the classroom will be a tremendous benefit to the students in the class.