Special education and stigmatization

I have been a part of many ARDs where parents are concerned about what they consider to be the stigma of special education. More often, parents invision special education as a completely separate area of the school where their child will be isolated from peers and will not be able to make the same progress as other non-disabled students. In reality, special education has come a long way.


At their foundation, students in special education are general education students. The difference is the specialized instruction they are eligible to receive based on an identified disability.


At every ARD, the ARDC considers any possible negative side effects of implementing an IEP in a more restrictive setting. One of the possible negatives includes stigmatization. The ARDC is tasked with creating an IEP that meets the student’s needs and facilitates growth in the least restrictive environment. Meaning that the student in special education receiving specialized instruction and support will continue to participate in school activities throughout the day with non-disabled peers.


Most importantly, a student’s best interest should be considered at all times.