What are the Differences Between SPEDS Schools and Regular Schools

Posted on 10-02-2021 by admin

What are the Differences Between SPEDS Schools and Regular Schools

Each child has different needs when it comes to education, but some have more specific needs than others. In regular schools, it is known that children will be taught a lesson syllabus that is pretty much uniform according to their ages. However, for children with special educational needs, the lesson plan can’t be quite as linear. The approach to teaching children with special education needs has to be personalised, hence, the Individualised Education Programme (IEP) document that is required for all children who are enrolled in a special education school.

The basic goal of special education is to provide exceptional children with disabilities which will prevent them from fully benefiting from traditional educational approaches with specialized instruction and intervention sufficient to enable them to benefit from their education.

Many people have the misconception that special education is merely a watered-down version of regular education. This is understandable but incorrect. The opposite is often true. Special education is in many ways more intensive than conventional education.

What are the main differences between special education and regular education?

Special education differs from regular education in two ways:

  • Different instructional methods are used, and
  • Additional specialists (specialised teachers, speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, aides, social workers, etc.) are involved beyond regular classroom teachers. These professionals’ specialised skills are matched to the specialised needs of identified children.

Special education uses intensive, individualised instructional methods. Most special education students will work on traditional academic content areas such as reading, writing, math, social studies, and science. In addition to traditional academic content, many exceptional students also benefit from a functional curriculum.

A Functional Curriculum is designed to help students learn basic daily living skills they have not developed on their own such as toileting, eating, grooming, using money, filling out forms, communicating basic needs, and following directions that a teacher or boss gives them. Functional curriculums teach students the basic skills required for independent living.

Traditional and functional curricula are augmented on a child-by-child, as needed basis by speciality services that help individual children to manage or overcome impediments to their learning. Intervention services students may receive at school include physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), speech and language therapy, and other related services. These specialities serve several purposes:

1) to help prevent minor problems from becoming a disability,

2) to prevent the effects of disability from getting worse,

3) to resolve problems in connection with a disability, or

4) to teach students to complete certain tasks despite their disability.

For example, psychological and other specialists may collaborate to create a behaviour plan designed to help a child reduce acting-out behaviours, learn to meet their daily living needs and to focus their energy on learning. A behaviour plan is a written plan that specifies what positive behaviours the student should be exhibiting, such as completing work promptly or sharing toys with other students during group activities.

The behaviour plan also specifies what tools school staff can use to motivate students to model those appropriate behaviours. Some school staff and families think that behaviour plans should mainly create planned consequences for a student’s misbehaviour, but these punishment-oriented plans often do not get the full benefits that a more comprehensive behaviour plan could provide. Both children in regular education and special education can benefit from behaviour plans, but often, children with special needs will need a more detailed plan.


Many people assume that special education only applies to children with extreme learning disabilities or those who have been diagnosed with Down Syndrome or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, children who are otherwise normal yet suffer from learning impairment can also be enrolled in a special education school where they can learn the standard education syllabus at their own pace. At Saint Clare, we believe that each child is special in their own way and should, therefore, be given the freedom and opportunity to learn at their own pace, regardless of their peers. To find out more about our programme, fill in this contact form and we will get in touch with you soon.